The results are in: did your state make the cut?
Personal finance website WalletHub recently compared data from all 50 US states (and the District of Columbia) to determine the best state to have a baby in. And the winner was, drumroll please, Vermont! But how exactly did they come to this conclusion, and what is it about Vermont that makes it so baby-friendly? Read on to find out.
To determine just which states were the most conducive to growing families, WalletHub selected four key pillars of measurement: 1) Cost, 2) Health Care, 3) Baby-Friendliness, and 4) Family-Friendliness.
Within each of those pillars, they also included a total of 26 relevant metrics. For example, Cost tallied items such as delivery expenses, Health Care took things like infant mortality rates and family doctors per capita into consideration, Baby-Friendliness evaluated parental leave policies and child-care centres per capita, and the Family-Friendliness category relied on data from WalletHub's study earlier this year on which states are the best to raise a family in (Vermont ranked #5 in that one).
According to the site, each metric was then "graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most favorable conditions for expectant parents and newborns."
Vermont came in at number one with a total of 69.61 points, scoring in the top five in critical categories such as lowest infant mortality rate, most midwives and OB-GYNs per capita, most pediatricians and family doctors per capita, and most child-care centers per capita. It rang in at nearly two full points ahead of second place state, Massachusetts, with Minnesota, New Hampshire, and North Dakota rounding out the top five.
Deciding to start a family in the United States is not cheap. In fact, it is the most expensive place in the world to give birth, due to the fact that there is no universal health care like in other developed countries such as the UK and Canada. According to The Economist, an average delivery in the US costs over $10,000, and this can climb to as much as $30,000 after tallying up pre- and post-natal care.
Not all states are equal, however. Birth expenses from state to state have been shown to vary tremendously, due to vast inequality and disparities in the cost of living. These results also do not take into account expenses incurred when it comes to more complicated deliveries.
To check out the study's detailed results, click here for the full report.