The Best (and Worst) States for Working Moms

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It can be challenging to work and raise your children, but according to a new survey, some states make it easier to be a working mom.

Working moms in Oregon have it pretty good, enjoying the best work-life balance in the nation.

That’s according to a new survey by personal finance network WalletHub, which ranked the 50 states and the District of Columbia on issues important to working mothers, including child care, parental-leave policies, work-life balance and the size of the gender pay gap.

The survey noted that although women make up about half of the workforce in the U.S., they earn a measly two-thirds of what their male counterparts do and experience far fewer opportunities for upward mobility. What’s worse is, “even the new crop of high-profile female CEOs seems to be drastically underpaid relative to their peers,” WalletHub said.

Oregon may be the best state to live when it comes to work-life balance. But when you take into consideration child care and professional opportunities, it moves to 16th place. Vermont earned the top spot for the best overall state for working moms, followed by Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

On the other end of the spectrum, Louisiana has one of the worst child care systems and largest gender pay gaps in the country, which drove it to last place in the overall rankings. Mississippi, Wyoming, Idaho and South Carolina round out the top five worst places to be a mom who works outside the home.

Here are the overall rankings for working moms for all 50 states and the District of Columbia:

  1. Vermont
  2. Minnesota
  3. Wisconsin
  4. New Hampshire
  5. Massachusetts
  6. Washington
  7. North Dakota
  8. Maine
  9. Virginia
  10. Ohio
  11. Nebraska
  12. Connecticut (tie)
  13. Maryland (tie)
  14. Utah
  15. New Jersey
  16. Oregon
  17. New York
  18. Delaware
  19. Rhode Island
  20. Illinois (tie)
  21. Iowa (tie)
  22. Idaho
  23. Tennessee
  24. Kansas
  25. South Dakota
  26. Montana
  27. Colorado
  28. Indiana
  29. Pennsylvania
  30. Florida
  31. Hawaii
  32. California
  33. Texas
  34. District of Columbia
  35. Michigan
  36. Wyoming
  37. Alaska
  38. New Mexico
  39. Missouri
  40. Arizona
  41. Kentucky
  42. Oklahoma
  43. North Carolina
  44. West Virginia
  45. Georgia
  46. Arkansas
  47. Nevada
  48. Alabama
  49. Mississippi
  50. South Carolina
  51. Louisiana

It should be noted that even among the top-ranking states, it can be challenging to be a working mother. WalletHub says something must be done to increase workplace gender equality and ease the burden working parents experience, but just what needs to be done is up for debate.

Progress, it would seem, is taking shape at different rates across the country. Not only do parental leave policies and other legal support systems vary by state, but the quality of infrastructure – from cost-effective day care to public schools – [is] far from uniform as well.

According to The Atlantic:

As this survey shows, equal pay is not the only problem that working mothers face in the country. It also involves the important services for early childhood development and flexibility to do the primary job many women are concerned with: being a mom.

So it appears that achieving the ideal work-life balance isn’t easy, especially for a mom. But kudos to all you working moms out there who are trying.

Stacy Johnson

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