These Are the Top 10 Best and Worst States to Have a Baby in 2021

The best state? Still Massachusetts.
ByNehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
August 9, 2021
Mom holding happy baby in her lap.
Image: Getty Images

While having a baby can always be a joyous yet stressful time, the coronavirus pandemic has made the past couple of years more stressful than others. The pandemic still infiltrates many parts of life in 2021—including childbirth and the postpartum period. New moms may have less support from family and friends during and after birth due to continued social distancing regulations.

Plus, families still have to deal with stressors like medical bills, quality of healthcare services and the best environment for kids right now. According to WalletHub’s 2021 list, not all states are equal in this regard and some are better than others to have a baby.

To figure out the most ideal places to have a baby, WalletHub compared the 50 states and D.C. across 31 key measures of cost, healthcare access, baby- and family-friendliness. So, the top state to have a baby in 2021? Massachusetts, which also took the top spot last year. Below, the top 10 best and worst states to have a baby.

Best States to Have a Baby

  1. Massachusetts
  2. Minnesota
  3. District of Columbia
  4. New Hampshire
  5. Vermont
  6. North Dakota
  7. Connecticut
  8. Washington
  9. New York
  10. Hawaii

Worst States to Have a Baby

  1. Mississippi
  2. Alabama
  3. South Carolina
  4. Louisiana
  5. Arkansas
  6. Nevada
  7. Oklahoma
  8. West Virginia
  9. Georgia
  10. North Carolina

Why did these states fall where they did? Several factors related to four key measures: cost, health care, baby-friendliness and family-friendliness. Each of these categories were evaluated on different metrics that were rated on a 100-point scale, with 100 being the best conditions. Historically, Vermont has taken the top spot in 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2016, but Massachusetts took the top spot in 2020 and 2021.

This year’s survey found Massachusetts has the highest parental leave policy score (160), while nine states, including Alabama, Michigan and South Dakota, tied for lowest with a score of 0. Meanwhile, D.C. had the most obstetricians and gynecologists (per 100,000 residents), 14, which is seven times more than in Alabama, which had the fewest at 2. Alaska had the lowest share of children born with low birth weight, at 6.3 percent, while Mississippi had the highest rate at 12.31 percent. Mississippi, however, did have the lowest average annual cost for early child care at $4,133, which is 3.8 times lower than in the District of Columbia, the highest at $15,860.

Of course, there are several aspects that go into raising a child—and where you live is just one of them. One of the best things you can do to help prepare for baby’s arrival is to make a budgeting plan to follow.

To learn more about the data and view the full survey, visit

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