In the U.S., women make up nearly half of the workforce, and a majority are mothers (70 percent). While women are making strides toward juggling parenthood and their careers, there’s still much room for progress.
From parental leave policies to child care, states are making efforts to give working mothers the support they need. However, many are still far behind.
Comparing all 50 states in the U.S., WalletHub uncovered the best and worst states for working moms. The study evaluated and graded states on a 100-point scale across three categories: child care, professional opportunities and work-life balance. Among these three categories, it further examined 13 metrics such as child-care costs, school system quality, gender pay gap, median women’s salary and parental leave policies.
Vermont takes the title for the best state for working moms, with good childcare support and a majority of people saying they have a solid work-life balance. Following the New England state is Minnesota, which scored highly under professional opportunities, and New Jersey, which had a high score in child care.
New York ranked number nine on the list of best states, and even placed number one under the best day-care systems for parents. Not only that, but the state also ranked fifth for lowest gender pay gap in the country.
Alabama and Louisiana ranked lowest on the list. These two states have some of the worst child-care systems in the country and very large gender pay gaps, WalletHub said.
Here are the top five states for working moms, according to WalletHub.
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With the highest overall score among all 50 states, Vermont takes the cake for best state for working moms. With an impressive third-place ranking for childcare, fifth place for work-life balance and seventh for professional opportunities -- this state has it all when it comes to support for working mothers.
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Following close behind Vermont is Minnesota. Like Vermont, Minnesota also ranks in the top 10 of every category (childcare, professional opportunities and work-life balance). However, it exceeds the New England state when it comes to professional opportunities -- taking third place on the list.
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The tri-state area seems to be a great place for working mothers, with New Jersey, Connecticut and New York each placing in the top 10 for working moms. However, the Garden State just barely beats Connecticut and New York, taking the title for third best state. It ranks number two in best child care and number 10 in work-life balance. However, it falls short when it comes to professional opportunities, likely because the state has a population of more than 8.9 million people (many of whom likely commute to New York City).
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If it weren’t for its lack of work-life balance, Delaware could have taken home the title for best state for working moms. The state took home first place for both child care and professional opportunities, but unfortunately struggled when it came to work-life balance, with its placement at number 30 on the list. The state placed fourth for the lowest gender pay gap out of all states in the country.
If you’re looking for a new opportunity, Connecticut is not the place to go. However, if you already have a career there or are transferring within your company, it’s a great state for working moms in terms of child care and work-life balance. Ranking 44th under professional opportunities, it makes up for it as number three in work-life balance and number six in child care.
Worst states for working moms
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Now that you’ve read about the best states for working moms, it’s time to check out the worst.
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Alabama ranks last on the list, with the worst score for professional opportunities, and 44th place for both child care and work-life balance. Not only that, but it has one of the worst day-care systems in the country, one of the highest gender pay gaps and the lowest female-to-male executive ratio.
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Here’s another southern state to avoid as a working mom. Louisiana has one of the lowest rankings for both child care and professional opportunities. However, when it comes to work-life balance, people do feel somewhat good about it -- the state placed number 24th for work-life balance.
Another upside to living here is that it has some of the lowest child care costs in the country. Unfortunately, that can only go so far because it has one of the highest gender pay gaps.
Nevada is WalletHub's third worst state for working mothers -- it ranks 47th in both child care and work-life balance, and 28th in professional opportunities. It’s also got some of the highest child-care costs in the country.
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Arizona is fourth on the list for worst states for working moms. From child care to professional opportunities to work-life balance -- Arizona scores low across the board, as number 43rd in child care, 46th in professional opportunities and 48th in work-life balance.
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Not only does Alaska have one of the lowest child care rankings, it's second highest in child care costs and has one of the largest gender pay gaps in the country.
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