Best States for Working Moms, Ranked

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Balancing work and family can be hard. It can seem almost impossible to juggle kids, dinner, doctor appointments, commuting to work, and having a full-time job. It gets even harder for single moms who don’t have the support of another person. With all of these challenges that working moms face, it’s a miracle that they get anything done.

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Living in a state with a systematic lack of support adds another source of stress. When childcare is expensive and a woman makes less than a man, it can feel like the world is intentionally dragging moms down. WalletHub recently did a study on the best and worst states for working moms to help inform people about where better opportunities are available, as well as share information on an important issue.

Working moms are given less pay, fewer opportunities, and face more challenges than working fathers do. Based on 16 key metrics such as the cost and quality of childcare, unemployment rates, and parental-leave policies, Wallethub ranked the 50 states and District of Columbia for which ones are the best for working moms to live in.

Women make up almost half of America’s workforce, and more than 70 percent of mothers with small children have a job. However, women make less than men across the country, and many places don’t have a good policy for maternity leave—if they have one at all. To learn about what states have good opportunities and programs in place to help support these people, keep reading to see our list of the best and worst states for working moms.

Louisiana

Louisiana is ranked as the worst place in America to live if you’re a working mom. This beautiful, culturally-rich state just doesn’t have many opportunities in general. It’s the second-worst in the nation for having bad daycare systems and one of the highest gender pay gaps in the country. One benefit Lousiana can boast up is having a parental leave policythe downfall is that it’s only for six weeks for new mothers. 

Alabama

Considering recent laws that have been passed in Alabama, you might expect this state to have good systems in place to support working mothers. You’d be wrong.  Alabama comes in next-to-last for professional opportunities and the lowest female to male executives ratio. This keeps women stuck in place without a way to get better, higher-paying positions to support their family.  Alabama also has the worst daycares in the nation, so you can’t even be confident about your child’s safety while you’re at work.

South Carolina

South Carolina is a beautiful state filled with beaches and rich history, but holding down a job and taking care of a family is difficult. For starters, the pay gap is an issue there, with opportunities for women severely lacking.  If you can find a decent-paying job, it’s unlikely to be easy to fit in family life in between the terrible commutes. Worst of all? There aren’t many good schools, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a pediatrician that isn’t already overloaded with patients. 

Idaho

Hopefully you like potatoes because that’s pretty much what Idaho has to offer working moms. This state came in dead last for child care, meaning that access to accredited, quality childcare is scarce and there’s a lack of pediatricians. It already sounds like a bad state to raise a family if you’re a career woman, but there’s also almost no room for women to get higher-up positions here. But hey, the commutes aren’t too bad! This state is ranked at number 15 for having a good work-life balance. 

Mississippi

It doesn’t get much worse than Mississippi for working moms. This state is ranked almost dead last in every category. Professional opportunities are really depressing if you’re a woman in this state, much less if you have a family to juggle. Without access to trustworthy childcare, schools, or a good work-life balance, you’d probably rip your hair out trying to survive and prosper in Mississippiespecially if you’re a single mom.

Nevada

Nevada is ranked as one of the worst places for working moms to live, but is that surprising when you consider that it’s home to Las Vegas, also known as Sin City? Finding trustworthy childcare that won’t break the bank is almost impossible, and between the terrible commutes and hours, it’s extremely difficult to raise a family there. On top of all that, there are also not many good opportunities for women to get higher-up positions.  Nevada is good for vacationing or retirement, but it’s not a great place for a working mom!