The Top 10 Best and Worst States to Be a Working Mother

Most Republicans—about 67 percent, according to a poll released earlier this year—believe things were better in the 1950s. If I had to guess what they miss most, I’d wager it’s Jim Crow laws and white presidents, but maybe there are other things, too. Perhaps they also long for a time when mothers (white ones, of course; black women always had to have jobs) stayed at home and attempted to make meaning out of recipe clippings. We’re long past that now, but Trump supporters can dream, can’t they?


Today, working moms are pretty much the standard, and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. As of 2015, 70 percent of all American women with kids aged 18 and under worked outside the home, with slightly lower numbers for married working mothers (67.6 percent) and higher numbers for unmarried working moms (74.8 percent). A lot of those women were the breadwinners, by the way. According to the Pew Research Center, in 40 percent of U.S. households with kids, the moms were the only or the primary earners. And remember, that’s despite the gender pay gap.

All those stats considered, some parts of the country are more amenable to working moms than others. WalletHub looked at all 50 states and the District of Columbia to determine which places are most working mom-friendly and which, to put it simply, are not. The criteria measured included, but weren’t limited to, things like daycare costs, median women’s salary, parental leave policies and gender pay gap values. In the end, here’s what states came out on the top and the bottom.

Best States for Working Moms                     

  1. Vermont         
  2. Minnesota                  
  3. Connecticut               
  4. North Dakota             
  5. Massachusetts                     
  6. Illinois             
  7. Wisconsin                 
  8. Colorado                    
  9. Kansas                      
  10. New Jersey

Worst States for Working Moms

  1. Nevada
  2. Alabama
  3. South Carolina
  4. Louisiana
  5. Alaska
  6. Arizona
  7. Mississippi
  8. Idaho
  9. Georgia
  10. New Mexico

Here are a few more facts:

  • New York State has the highest daycare quality score, while Mississippi has the lowest child-care costs as a share of the median women’s salary.
  • The District of Columbia has the most pediatricians per 100,000 residents, 48.92, which is nearly 18 times more than in Wisconsin, the state with the fewest, 2.79.
  • The District of Columbia has the highest ratio of female executives to male executives, 65.43 percent, which is nearly three times higher than in Utah, the state with the lowest, 25.51 percent.
  • Maryland has the lowest percentage of single-mom families with children younger than 18 in poverty, 26.1 percent, which is two times lower than in Mississippi, the state with the highest, 51.3 percent.
  • Virginia has the highest median women’s salary (adjusted for cost of living), $45,452, which is two times higher than in Hawaii, the state with the lowest, $22,792.
  • North Dakota has the lowest female unemployment rate, 2.8 percent, which is three times lower than in the District of Columbia, which has the highest, 8.4 percent.

To see how your state ranks, check out the survey in its entirety on WalletHub.

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