2022’s Best Cities for New Moms

Mom and baby
Julia Zavalishina / Shutterstock.com

Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on LawnStarter.

Being a new mom is hard, but being surrounded by a strong community can help lighten the load.

Which U.S. cities are best at supporting women through the challenges of motherhood?

LawnStarter compared 180 of the biggest U.S. cities to rank 2022’s Best Cities for New Moms. We looked at more than 40 mom-friendliness factors, such as OB/GYN and pediatrician access, the strength of breastfeeding laws, child care costs, and new-mom support groups.

Here are some of the top cities, followed by some highlights and lowlights.

1. Orange, CA

Orange, California
Felipe Sanchez / Shutterstock.com

Overall Score: 55.28

Maternity Care Rank: 1

Child Care Rank: 17

Mom Protections Rank: 16

Affordability Rank: 154

Social Support Rank: 94

Socioeconomics Rank: 11

Home and Outdoor Environments Rank: 62

2. Boston, MA

Back Bay Boston
Jorge Salcedo / Shutterstock.com

Overall Score: 54.88

Maternity Care Rank: 14

Child Care Rank: 1

Mom Protections Rank: 4

Affordability Rank: 167

Social Support Rank: 172

Socioeconomics Rank: 61

Home and Outdoor Environments Rank: 42

3. Portland, OR

Portland skyline
Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com

Overall Score: 54.53

Maternity Care Rank: 96

Child Care Rank: 15

Mom Protections Rank: 7

Affordability Rank: 69

Social Support Rank: 132

Socioeconomics Rank: 39

Home and Outdoor Environments Rank: 105

4. Jersey City, NJ

Jersey City, New Jersey
Sorbis / Shutterstock.com

Overall Score: 52.74

Maternity Care Rank: 61

Child Care Rank: 36

Mom Protections Rank: 1

Affordability Rank: 165

Social Support Rank: 12

Socioeconomics Rank: 62

Home and Outdoor Environments Rank: 99

5. San Francisco, CA

San Francisco neighborhood.
Bertl123 / Shutterstock.com

Overall Score: 51.88

Maternity Care Rank: 40

Child Care Rank: 7

Mom Protections Rank: 16

Affordability Rank: 178

Social Support Rank: 158

Socioeconomics Rank: 5

Home and Outdoor Environments Rank: 38

6. Salem, OR

Salem, Oregon
James Curzio / Shutterstock.com

Overall Score: 51.63

Maternity Care Rank: 106

Child Care Rank: 133

Mom Protections Rank: 7

Affordability Rank: 45

Social Support Rank: 107

Socioeconomics Rank: 137

Home and Outdoor Environments Rank: 95

7. Eugene, OR

Eugene, Oregon
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Overall Score: 51.39

Maternity Care Rank: 62

Child Care Rank: 117

Mom Protections Rank: 7

Affordability Rank: 54

Social Support Rank: 180

Socioeconomics Rank: 119

Home and Outdoor Environments Rank: 104

8. Paterson, NJ

Paterson, New Jersey
Brian Logan Photography / Shutterstock.com

Overall Score: 50.99

Maternity Care Rank: 2

Child Care Rank: 72

Mom Protections Rank: 1

Affordability Rank: 171

Social Support Rank: 178

Socioeconomics Rank: 135

Home and Outdoor Environments Rank: 160

9. Yonkers, NY

Yonkers, New York
Brian Logan Photography / Shutterstock.com

Overall Score: 50.89

Maternity Care Rank: 18

Child Care Rank: 42

Mom Protections Rank: 10

Affordability Rank: 149

Social Support Rank: 142

Socioeconomics Rank: 72

Home and Outdoor Environments Rank: 103

10. Bellevue, WA

Bellevue, Washington
mandritoiu / Shutterstock.com

Overall Score: 50.74

Maternity Care Rank: 21

Child Care Rank: 131

Mom Protections Rank: 56

Affordability Rank: 135

Social Support Rank: 6

Socioeconomics Rank: 8

Home and Outdoor Environments Rank: 141

11. Fremont, CA

Fremont California houses
Sundry Photography / Shutterstock.com

Overall Score: 50.64

Maternity Care Rank: 93

Child Care Rank: 37

Mom Protections Rank: 16

Affordability Rank: 176

Social Support Rank: 67

Socioeconomics Rank: 3

Home and Outdoor Environments Rank: 61

12. Pasadena, CA

Richard Thornton / Shutterstock.com

Overall Score: 50.49

Maternity Care Rank: 3

Child Care Rank: 48

Mom Protections Rank: 16

Affordability Rank: 170

Social Support Rank: 41

Socioeconomics Rank: 27

Home and Outdoor Environments Rank: 174

13. Fullerton, CA

Fullerton, California
Matt Gush / Shutterstock.com

Overall Score: 50.45

Maternity Care Rank: 12

Child Care Rank: 35

Mom Protections Rank: 16

Affordability Rank: 162

Social Support Rank: 95

Socioeconomics Rank: 40

Home and Outdoor Environments Rank: 73

14. Salinas, CA

Steinbeck house in Salinas
jejim / Shutterstock.com

Overall Score: 50.33

Maternity Care Rank: 17

Child Care Rank: 16

Mom Protections Rank: 16

Affordability Rank: 145

Social Support Rank: 159

Socioeconomics Rank: 54

Home and Outdoor Environments Rank: 109

15. Irvine, CA

Irvine, California
Matt Gush / Shutterstock.com

Overall Score: 50.24

Maternity Care Rank: 50

Child Care Rank: 29

Mom Protections Rank: 16

Affordability Rank: 169

Social Support Rank: 3

Socioeconomics Rank: 21

Home and Outdoor Environments Rank: 91

Now for the highlights and lowlights of our findings …

Elite Access From Coast to Coast

paulaphoto / Shutterstock.com

Our Best Cities for New Moms dot both coasts, offering plenty of services and support for new moms.

The Golden State shines with two cities in our top 10. Orange, California, brings home the gold at No. 1 overall and in maternity care. Further up the state, San Francisco (No. 5) fared well in the child care and socioeconomics rankings.

Head east to No. 2 city Boston for high-quality child care (on which it ranked No. 1) and high scores across the charts. Paterson, New Jersey, claims a spot near the top (No. 8) thanks to excellent maternity care (which ranked No. 2).

Unfortunately, access to quality resources can come with a hefty price tag. Most of our top-ranking cities fared poorly in affordability — only one landed among the best 50 cities in that category.

It Takes a Village

Alena Ozerova / Shutterstock.com

Being a new mom can feel isolating, especially if you’re the first one in your circle to start the journey of motherhood. Washington state cities Bellevue (No. 10) and Vancouver (No. 17) performed well in our ranking thanks to their abundance of new moms and parent support groups.

First-time moms and pregnant women don’t just need community support, they also need high-quality medical guidance and resources. California cities Pasadena (No. 12) and Torrance (No. 18) pull ahead in maternity care, while New York (No. 19) fared well in the child-care ranking.

Don’t Break the Bank

Doctor with mother and baby
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

Pregnancy and child care can cost a fortune, especially in the U.S. where hospital bills for childbirth are more expensive than anywhere else in the world. Without insurance, you could be out of pocket by as much as $24,400, depending on which city among the rankings you live in.

When labor and delivery can be as expensive as a new car — and housing costs are higher than ever — where can a regular mom settle down to take care of her family?

Nebraska cities Lincoln (No. 38) and Omaha (No. 40) are two of the most affordable cities for new moms. Lincoln also ranked well in child care (No. 3). However, if you’re looking for community support or healthier surroundings, put down roots in Omaha.

Laws Supporting Moms

fizkes / Shutterstock.com

Some cities soared to the top of our ranking, thanks to strong legal protections around paid leave, job security, and wage replacement during pregnancy and childbirth.

New Jersey cities tie for first place in mom protections, with Jersey City (No. 4) bumping to the top overall for high social support, and Paterson (No. 8) just a few steps behind. Mom protections also brought Oregon cities Portland (No. 3), Salem (No. 6), and Eugene (No. 7) up in the ranking.

Room to Roam Safely

Mom walking with two small children outside.
Evgeniy Zhukov / Shutterstock.com

Many new moms want their children to be in touch with nature, but not all cities are safely built for curious kids. Rochester, New York (No. 28), Naperville, Illinois (No. 34), and Overland Park, Kansas (No. 43), earned some of the best scores for home and outdoor environments.

Cities in Tennessee, like Murfreesboro (No. 101) and Chattanooga (No. 104), and Alabama cities Huntsville (No. 102) and Mobile (No. 149) might have big backyards to roam, but parents have to make a big compromise to live there. Despite the high environmental quality and big yards in these cities, they fall behind in many other categories, lacking important resources that cater to mothers and their children.

Not So Family-Friendly

Happy family at home
fizkes / Shutterstock.com

For the second year in a row, Detroit (No. 180) sinks to the bottom of our ranking as the worst city for new moms. Motor City was slowed down by poor scores across the board, except for affordability (No. 56) and social support (No. 32).

Following just behind is Fayetteville, North Carolina (No. 179), and a few Texas suburbs, Grand Prarie (No. 178), Pasadena (No. 177), and Mesquite (No. 176). While these cities are moderately affordable, they lack resources to meet the needs of new moms.

Methodology

Working on computer data analysis on a laptop
Gorodenkoff / Shutterstock.com

We ranked 180 of the most populated U.S. cities from best (No. 1) to worst (No. 180) for new moms based on their overall scores (out of 100 possible points), averaged across metrics from: the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, AreaVibes, Care.com, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Aware of America, County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, DoulaMatch.net, Feeding America, LawnStarter Internal Data, Livability, Mamava, Meetup, National Center for Children in Poverty, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NeighborhoodScout, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. News & World Report, Walk Score, and Yelp.

We used the following metrics to calculate the scores:

  • OB/GYNs per 10,000 Females Aged 15+
  • Nurse Midwives per 10,000 New Moms
  • Hospitals per 100,000 Residents
  • Quality of Public Hospitals
  • Lactation/Nursing Spaces per 10,000 New Moms
  • Doulas per 10,000 New Moms
  • Hospitals with Maternity Services per 100,000 Residents
  • Quality of Hospitals with Gynecology Services (Score Out of 100)
  • Family Practitioners per 100,000 Residents
  • Pediatricians per 10,000 Households with Children Under Age 18
  • Childcare Workers per 10,000 Households with Children Under Age 18
  • Infant Mortality Rate
  • Life Expectancy
  • Low Birthweight Rate
  • Share of Uninsured Children
  • Number of Baby Supply Stores
  • Number of Hospitals with Neonatology Services
  • Maximum Length of Paid Family Leave Allowed (in Weeks)
  • Percentage of Wage Replacement
  • Availability of Job Protection in Paid Family Leave Policy (1 = Yes, 0 = No)
  • Maximum Additional Paid Medical Leave Allowed for Pregnancy and Childbirth (in Weeks)
  • Availability of State Law Allowing Sick Leave for Child Care (1 = Yes, 0 = No)
  • Strength of Breastfeeding Laws
  • Cost of Living Index
  • Housing Affordability
  • Average Delivery Cost With Insurance in State
  • Average Delivery Cost Without Insurance in State
  • Copay as a Share of Household Income
  • Hourly Babysitting Rate
  • Annual Cost of Infant Day Care
  • New Moms per 1,000 Moms in Past Year
  • Mom and Parent Support Groups per 100,000 Residents
  • Unemployment Rate for Women with Children Under Age 6
  • Average Annual Household Income
  • Share of Children Under Age 5 Living in Poverty
  • Share of New Moms Living in Poverty
  • Food Insecurity Rate
  • Median Air Quality Index
  • Presence of Water Quality Violations (1 = Present, 0 = Not Present)
  • Walk Score
  • Pedestrian Fatalities per 100,000 Residents
  • Average Yard Square Footage
  • Crime Index
  • Share of Homes with Severe Housing Problems

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