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Natalie Escobar

5 Best States to Have a Baby? the List May Surprise You

See if you guessed right.
PUBLISHED ON 08/14/2017

Everyone has an idea of where are the best places in the US to have a baby. But the states that actually made the list may come as a surprise.

In the latest WalletHub report, these are the states that made the top five:

  1. Vermont
  2. Minnesota
  3. New Hampshire
  4. Connecticut
  5. North Dakota

And here's their bottom five:

  1. Alabama
  2. West Virginia
  3. Nevada
  4. Louisiana
  5. Mississippi

A lot of different measurements went into these rankings, including costs of living, health care accessibility and baby- and family-friendliness. Here’s the breakdown of why the top states are better than the rest:

Vermont ranks #1 in health care accessibility, #3 in family-friendliness and #4 in baby-friendliness. The only downside is the price tag; the state comes in #40 for cost. (And being the home of our favorite peace-loving ice cream makers, Ben & Jerry’s, could have given Vermont some unfair advantage.)
Minnesota is right behind Vermont with its stellar rankings – #2 in health care, #4 in family-friendliness and #5 in baby-friendliness. Even better, it has a middle-of-the-pack rating for costliness at the #25 spot.
New Hampshire ranks #2 in family-friendliness, #4 in health care, #10 in cost and #28 in baby-friendliness.
Connecticut isn’t cheap, clocking in at #42 for affordability, but it’s baby-friendly (#3), family-friendly (#9) and has pretty good access to health care (#9).
North Dakota is the #1 family-friendly state and one of the most affordable places, ranking at #4 for cost. It’s #13 for health care accessibility and #33 for baby-friendliness.

These terms can seem kind of vague, but there’s a lot of data that goes behind whether a state is considered friendly or affordable. For example, health care access takes into account the amount of midwives, OB-GYNs, pediatricians and family doctors per capita. Baby-friendliness is calculated using the number of child care centers and mom groups per capita, as well as parental leave policies.

But just because your state didn’t make the best list, it doesn’t mean you have to pack up and move. The report is a reality check on the costs of having a child, and is a great starting point to having those financial conversations, says Cassandra Chaney, an associate professor of child and family studies at Louisiana State University, in a press release.

You can find the rest of the report here.

PHOTO: Getty Images