Story at a glance
- There were about 3.6 million births in the U.S. in 2020.
- The average cost of conventional delivery is over $3,000 with insurance and can go up to $10,00 for those without insurance.
- Massachusetts, Vermont and Rhode Island were found to have the best policies in place for having a baby.
Pregnancy carries steep costs in the U.S., with hospital delivery charges, health insurance premiums and childcare. However, some states are considered more baby friendly than others, with a new report measuring which states offer the most favorable conditions for expectant parents and newborns.
There were 3.6 million births in the U.S. in 2020 and the average conventional delivery costs over $3,000 with insurance—without could cost over $10,000. That’s just one of many expenses families incur over a child’s lifetime, with follow-up doctor appointments, childcare and additional living expenses.
Personal finance site WalletHub evaluated all 50 states and Washington, D.C., across four key dimensions: cost, health care, baby-friendliness and family-friendliness. Researchers considered things like hospital delivery charges, the average cost of a babysitter, maternal mortality rates, parental-leave policies and more.
Here are the WalletHub’s top five best states to have a baby:
Ranked number one, Massachusetts ranked highest in OB-GYN availability and prenatal care access. The state also has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the country.
Vermont earned high marks for cost of delivery and baby-friendliness. It also has some of the lowest hospital charges for conventional delivery. Vermont also has the lowest infant mortality rate in the country and has a high volume of midwives and OB-GYNs and childcare centers per capita.
- Rhode Island
At number three, Rhode Island earned high marks for the cost of delivering a baby and for family-friendliness.
Minnesota also earned high marks for the cost of delivering a baby and has a high volume of pediatricians and family medicine physicians per capita.
- New Hampshire
New Hampshire earned high marks for baby-friendliness and has some of the lowest charges for a hospital cesarean, known as a C-section, delivery. The state also has a high volume of midwives and OB-GYNs per capita.
Here are WalletHub’s top five worst states to have a baby:
Alabama was ranked as the worst state to have a baby, with low marks across the board for cost of delivering a baby, overall health care, baby-friendliness and family friendliness.
Mississippi has the highest infant mortality rate in the country and among the fewest number of midwives and OB-GYNs per capita.
- South Carolina
South Carolina also received low marks across the spectrum, from cost of delivering a baby to baby-friendliness and family friendliness.
Louisiana is among the five states that have the highest infant mortality rates in the country and the fewest midwives and OB-GYNs per capita. The state also has the fewest number of pediatricians and family medicine physicians per capita in the entire country.
Georgia also received low marks among all categories, from cost of delivering a baby, overall health care, baby-friendliness and family friendliness.
The topic of pregnancy has received national attention over the past months after the Supreme Court issued a decision in June that overturned Roe v. Wade—a nearly 50-year-old precedent that affirmed the constitutional right to abortion in the U.S.
Now that federal abortion protections are gone, many more Americans may end up facing unexpected pregnancy expenses. Researchers from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that health costs associated with pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum care can vary drastically—especially for those who do not have health insurance.