Babies 'R' Expensive: U.S Tops the Charts In Childbirth Costs

Having a baby has always been costly. No matter how penny-pinching you try to be, the bills for diapers and toys add up, especially if you’re in the United States. According to a new report from the International Federation of Health Plans, the cost of childbirth in the United States is more expensive than anywhere else in the world. IFHP, a group monitoring healthcare financing in 28 countries, reports that the cost of a cesarean birth in the United States averages about $15,240, slightly up from $15,041 in 2013. A delivery costs $10,002, up from $9,775 in 2013. 

Compare these numbers to countries like Switzerland where the average for a C-section is 40 percent lower at $10,681. And although Switzerland is about $5,000 lower than the United States, it pales in comparison to Spain and Argentina where C-sections average around $3,000, and a normal delivery averages a little over $2,000.

IFHP reported on birth costs as well as other healthcare costs around the world and in almost every instance, the United States stood out above the rest. WalletHub, a cost comparison site, took IFHP’s findings a step further. It analyzed the best and worst states in the U.S. to have a baby comparing states across 22 metrics, including the cost of having a cesarean or a conventional delivery, infant care costs and the highest number of child centers per capita.

After tallying the numbers, it concluded that Alabama was one of the the worst states to have a baby. Vermont topped the list with a “health care for new moms and baby rank” of 1 and an overall budget friendliness of 21. Other baby-friendly states include Maine, Oregon and Connecticut and New Hampshire, all of which fare well in budget and healthcare for new moms.

Southern states overall did not do so well; South Carolina, Mississippi and Louisiana made the bottom of the list along with Alabama, whose poor numbers are a result of having some of the highest infant mortality rates and poor access to maternity and child care.


If you’re a September baby, you’re not alone says WalletHub, noting that most births take place in September. "During our research of the subject, we found that the most newborn arrivals take place during September and that delivery costs in the United States are astronomical. In fact, they're the highest in the world," Richie Bernardo, a WalletHub financial writer, told Citizen Times. "With these facts combined, we thought the timing of publication and subject matter seemed appropriate."

WalletHub Sources: Data used to create these rankings is courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Child Care Aware of America, the National Partnership for Women & Families, the United Health Foundation, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Tax Foundation, Amnesty International USA and

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.