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The Best & Worst States for Working Parents


If you’re a working parent finding it near impossible to balance your career and your life, it may have something to do with where you live. Read on to see which states are the best and the worst for working moms and dads, and where your state falls on the list.


(Photo Credit: donnierayjones/Flickr)

The traditional household today looks very different than it did in the 1960s. The New York Times sums it up perfectly by saying, “The typical American family […] has become as multilayered and full of surprises as a holiday turducken — the all-American seasonal portmanteau of deboned turkey, duck and chicken.” Family roles have changed drastically since more women starting leaving the home to pursue careers. Today, women make up nearly half of the American workforce and 69.9 percent of mothers (with children under 18 years old) hold down careers, according to the United States Department of Labor.

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The landscape of the workplace has evolved, too. Once considered the old boys’ club, the workplace has adapted (and is still adapting) to accommodate a more gender-neutral and family-friendly environment, thanks to the prevalence of women in the workforce. The modern-day working parent is now faced with the dilemma of juggling kids, a career, and a household simultaneously, which makes finding balance in life more difficult than ever – depending on where you live.

WalletHub conducted a study that analyzed 12 key metrics for working moms and 20 key metrics for working dads to find which states were the best and the worst for each group. The three main categories (or areas of life) examined for working mothers were: Child Care, Professional Opportunities, and Work-Life Balance. The four main categories for men were: Economic & Social Well-Being, Health, Work-Life Balance, and Child Care. Here’s a breakdown of the best and worst states for working women and working men, respectively.

Best 3 States for Working Women (with corresponding weight):

1. Vermont

Child Care Rank: 12

Professional Opportunity Rank: 2

Work-Life Balance Rank: 4

2. Minnesota

Child Care Rank: 11

Professional Opportunity Rank: 5

Work-Life Balance Rank: 8

3. Wisconsin

Child Care Rank: 16

Professional Opportunity Rank: 15

Work-Life Balance Rank: 5

Worst 3 States for Working Women (with corresponding weight):

49. Mississippi

Child Care Rank: 50

Professional Opportunities Rank: 48

Work-Life Balance Rank: 41

50. South Carolina

Child Care Rank: 47

Professional Opportunities Rank: 50

Work-Life Balance Rank: 36

51. Louisiana

Child Care Rank: 50

 Professional Opportunities Rank: 51

 Work-Life Balance Rank: 32

Best 3 States for Working Men (with corresponding weight):

1. Minnesota

Economic & Social Well-Being: 3

Health: 12

Work-Life Balance: 3

Child Care: 11

2. New Hampshire 

Economic & Social Well-Being: 1

Health: 4

Work-Life Balance: 43

Child Care: 4

3. Massachusetts

Economic & Social Well-Being: 8

Health: 1

Work-Life Balance: 23

Child Care: 5

Worst 3 States for Working Men (with corresponding weight):

49. Arkansas

Economic & Social Well-Being: 44

Health: 50

Work-Life Balance: 35

Child Care: 41

50. Nevada

Economic & Social Well-Being: 49

Health: 46

Work-Life Balance: 15

Child Care: 51

51. Mississippi

Economic & Social Well-Being: 27

Health: 51

Work-Life Balance: 51

Child Care: 50

According to the study’s findings, all states are not created equal when it comes to catering to working parents’ priorities and lifestyles. For instance, Minnesota seems to fare well for working moms and dads, ranking in the top three for both lists, whereas Mississippi proves to be the least desirable state, coming in the bottom three for both rankings.

There’s no doubt that times have changed, and with change comes both challenges and opportunities. For instance, women have more rights now than ever before, however, they are still fighting for equal pay for equal work in the workplace. For working fathers, the challenge of bringing home the bacon often takes priority in life, but often at the sacrifice of quality time with family. Hopefully one day working parents will have the comfort of enjoying their families and their careers simultaneously, without having to sacrifice one for the other.

Tell Us What You Think

Are you a working parent who lives in one of the top- or bottom-ranking states? Tell us how you’d rank your state based on the criteria outlined above. Share your thoughts with our community on Twitter or in the comments section below. 

Leah Arnold-Smeets
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