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Oh, Baby! The Best (and Worst) States to Become New Parents

The average price tag of conventional delivery at an American hospital is $10,002.

| BY Donald Liebenson


Vermont, the saying goes, is for lovers. According to a new report, it’s also for expectant parents.

The Green Mountain State has been ranked as fiscally the best state in America to have a baby, according to WalletHub. This is news new parents can use. Americans have the world’s highest birthing costs. The average price tag of conventional delivery at an American hospital is $10,002, compared with $2,251 in Spain, according to the International Federation of Health Plans.

And birthing costs are only the beginning. A 2014 U.S. Department of Agriculture estimate projected that it will cost a middle-income couple just over $245,000 to raise a child born in 2013 to the age of 18. That was up $4,260, or almost 2 percent, from the prior year. The figures are based on the cost of housing, food, transportation, clothing, health care, education, child care and miscellaneous expenses, such as haircuts and cell phones. The cost of college is not included.

WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across three key metrics: Budget (mostly hospital costs); health care and baby-friendly environment, which includes air pollution, number of child care centers and mom groups and parental leave policy

The top 10 states to have a baby, according to the WalletHub report, are: 

  • Vermont
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • Hawaii
  • Minnesota
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Wyoming
  • Iowa
  • Alaska

Vermont ranks No. 1 under the health care ranking, while Kentucky is ranked best by budget. Hawaii is considered tops for baby-friendly environment.

At the bottom end of the scale, Mississippi was named the worst state to have a baby, followed by Pennsylvania, West Virginia, South Carolina and Nevada.

Other key states from the report find that Vermont has nine times more child care centers per capita than West Virginia and 12 times more pediatricians per capita than New Mexico. Elsewhere, California boasts the best parental leave policies, North Dakota the lowest hospital conventional delivery charges and Iowa the lowest infant death rate.

If moving to Vermont or any of the top 10 states to have a baby is not practical, experts commissioned by WalletHub suggest that parents would be well advised to create savings and emergency funds for expenses both expected (such as college) and unexpected, such as illnesses).

About the Author

Donald Liebenson

Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.  

A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.