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10 Best & Worst States to Live in If You're a Working Mom

Posted by on May. 5, 2015 at 9:43 AM
  • 13 Replies

10 Best & Worst States to Live in If You're a Working Mom

Suzee Skwoit

Women make up half the population and half the workforce in America, but still face plenty of obstacles in their professional careers and work-life balance. The gender pay gap persists, and becomes even more apparent if they choose to have families. And the ranking of the best and worst states for working moms shows us that we still have a ways to go in terms of creating opportunities for women.

Personal finance social network WalletHub analyzed each of the 50 states, as well as Washington, DC, ranked them based on their child care systems, levels of professional opportunities for women, and work-life balance importance.

By looking at the costs of day cares, access to pediatricians, the gender pay gap, ratio of female-to-male executives, median women's salaries, unemployment rates, parental leave policies, workday lengths, and average commute times, the network was able to grade each of the states comparatively, and some of these results may shock you.

Take a look, this ranks the best states (from best to worse) and worst states (from bad to worst), and see if your state makes the list.

1. Best -- Vermont

According to findings, Vermont has the lowest gender pay gap in all of America. In fact, women's earning as a percentage of men's are at an all-nation low in the state. On top of that, Vermont also has the highest female-to-make executive ratio.

2. Best -- Minnesota

The Land of 10,000 Lakes ranks toward the top of every list. It's 11th in child care services, fifth in professional opportunities, and eighth in work-life balance, making it the second-best state for working moms.

3. Best -- Wisconsin

The Midwestern state ranked well on all lists, but its work-life balance is what makes it at the top of the overall list. With an impressive parental leave policy, an understanding average work day length, and considerate average commute for moms, the state has catapulted to the top tier.

4. Best -- New Hampshire

New Hampshire's child care dimensions are largely responsible for the state's high overall ranking. The quality and costs of child care, access to pediatricians, and quality of school districts helped to make the state one of the best places for working moms.

5. Best -- Massachusetts

The Bay State falls right behind New Hampshire both in overall ranking and in child care rank. Both states have high quality schools and day cares, though Massachusetts child care costs are some of the highest in the entire nation.

6. Best -- Washington

The state is sixth best overall, but has the second-best day care system in the entire country -- it's right behind New York, which has the best.

7. Best -- North Dakota

Not only is North Dakota tied with Oklahoma and Texas for the third-best state for day care, but it's also the fifth-best state for female-to-male executive ratios!

8. Best -- Maine

The Pine Tree State ranks in the top 10 in the overall ranking, and also proudly is the ninth best state for professional opportunities for working moms. Between a low gender pay gap, a high ratio of female-to-male executives, a high median salary for women, and low unemployment for moms, its one of the best states for moms looking to work.

9. Best -- Virginia

Virginia, which is ninth overall, has one of the highest median women's salaries in the nation. In fact, the median salary for women (adjusted to the cost of living) is two times higher in Virginia than it is in Hawaii.

10. Best -- Ohio

Rounding out the top 10 is Ohio, which has a high quality of child care, professional opportunities, and work-life balance for moms, and places a high importance on improving the lives of working moms throughout the state.

10. Worst -- Oklahoma

Though Oklahoma does have one of the best day care systems in the country (it's tied with North Dakota and Texas for third best), it is 46th in terms of professional opportunities and 40th for work-life balance.

9. Worst -- North Carolina

The Old North State (or the Tar Heel State) was found to have an overall poor day care system, but its opportunities for working women as well as a positive work-life balance landed it on the bottom 10 list of overall states.

8. Worst -- West Virginia

While it's 43rd overall, West Virginia has one of the worst and highest gender pay gaps in the country. That's what ranks the state as the 45th in terms of professional opportunities for women.

7. Worst -- Georgia

Georgia finds itself toward the bottom of the list largely due to its work opportunities for women. In total, the state has one of the lowest female-to-male executive ratios in the nation, meaning that there are significantly more men than women in board rooms.

6. Worst -- Arkansas

Though Arkansas has one of the worst day care systems in the country (it ranks 43rd in the "child care" category), it also has one of the cheapest child cares. It ranks fourth for cost, as a percentage of median women's income.

5. Worst -- Nevada

Nevada, although 13th overall in professional opportunities for women, has a startling unemployment rate for women -- it's four times higher in Nevada than in North Dakota!

4. Worst -- Alabama

Even though Alabama has the highest female-to-male executive ratio in the nation, the rest of its professional opportunities for women and it's poor child care system put it near the bottom of the list.

3. Worst -- Mississippi

Mississippi's low ranking can be largely attributed to its undeveloped level of work options for women. Additionally, the poll found that there are nearly double the amount of single mom families in poverty in Mississippi than in Alaska.

2. Worst -- South Carolina

South Carolina is second-to-last in the overall ranking, but it's also second-to-last in the female-to-male executive ratio!

1. Worst -- Louisiana

Finally, Louisiana ranks dead last in the main ranking. It's also last in professional opportunities, second-to-last in child care systems, and 32nd in work-life balance.

Did your state make the list? Are you surprised?
If you live in one of these states, have you found this to be true?

by on May. 5, 2015 at 9:43 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by New Member on May. 5, 2015 at 7:55 PM
I live in Virginia and I do find it shocking, because I actually hate it here. Maybe it's just the part of Virginia I am in.
by Optimus Prime on May. 8, 2015 at 5:09 AM
Wisconsin? Yeah... This "study" is flawed
by Bronze Member on May. 8, 2015 at 8:11 AM

I'd be curious where the statistics came from. I can see Virginia ranking higher as many involved in government live there, so salaries would be higher and there would be more professional opportunities. I can see other states ranking lower as many lack opportunities for either gender. I wonder how these states rate by single parent families, (mentioned in passing for Mississippi), and education levels as these determine sucess in many cases.

by Bronze Member on May. 8, 2015 at 3:08 PM

Reading thru the article it really is slanted. Yeah there will be a big wage gap in the ones listed in the bottom 5. Think about what the majority of those jobs are. How many women miners, timber, ranchers, etc do you think there are that pay good money? But if you notice those same states have lower child care costs. Why? Because chances are those moms are SAHM. It's all in how you look at it. 

by Silver Member on May. 8, 2015 at 9:20 PM
I live I OK. But have not work at side of the home for all.most nine years so can not judge how hard it is to do so.
by Melissa on May. 9, 2015 at 10:06 AM

 i live in va and a single person cant make it own their own much less a single mother.

by on May. 9, 2015 at 10:39 AM

I am in Texas and it is not on the list however it was mentioned that it is #3 best for child care in which I absolutely agree. 

by on May. 9, 2015 at 10:39 AM
I live in Minnesota... I'm not sure why it's so great. It seems to suck here, actually.
by Member on May. 9, 2015 at 10:42 AM
MN/WI is where I am. Glad to see they both made the list!
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by Member on May. 9, 2015 at 10:52 AM
I live in Florida and I'm very surprised my state didn't make the list for worst. I don't remember the last time we Went without hearing of some kind of scandal at a daycare for more than a week. But on top of that released in the area I live in daycares can be very very expensive.
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