A group of WalletHub researchers published a report Monday rating U.S. states on the cost and safety of having a baby in 2018, noting that Americans pay the highest birth costs in the world.
WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across cost, health care accessibility and baby-friendliness factors in its 2018’s Best & Worst States to Have a Baby. The study’s authors examined 26 metrics including hospital c-section and conventional delivery charges, average annual cost of early child care, average health insurance premiums, babysitter costs and other factors to determine which states are best suited for childbirth in 2018.
The authors also included pediatricians and family doctors per capita, infant mortality rate, maternal mortality ratio and parental leave policies in the ratings.
Vermont, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire and North Dakota ranked as the top five states to give birth in respectively, while Oklahoma, Louisiana, South Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi ranked as the worst five respectively.
Mississippi had the lowest average annual cost for early child care at $3,114, while the cost of early child care in D.C. was the highest of any state at $15,137.
Mississippi had the highest share of low birth weight childbirths of any state at 11.46 percent. Alaska had the lowest share at 5.90 percent. (RELATED: Here’s What Parents Are Naming Their Kids In 2018)
There are 22 obstetricians and gynecologists per 100,000 residents in Vermont, a rate 11 times higher than Oklahoma with only two obstetricians and gynecologists per 100,000 residents.
California has the highest parental-leave policy score at 155, while Arizona, Michigan and South Carolina — along with 9 other states — tied for the lowest at zero.
Birth and healthcare costs are not the only obstacles American children face. The U.S. has the seventh highest rate of child poverty among economically developed countries, the United Nation’s Children’s Fund (UNICEF) claimed in its June 2017 report. Over 694,000 American children are neglected or abused every year, according to the Children’s Defense Fund.
Mississippi, New Mexico and Nevada have the most underprivileged children respectively, according to WalletHub’s Aug. 8 report.
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