From the astronomical cost of child care, to a lack of equal pay and federal paid leave, working mothers in the United States have faced long-standing challenges when it comes to balancing work life and home life, even before the pandemic.
But according to personal finance site WalletHub, there are some states that provide better opportunities than others for working mothers to thrive inside and outside the home.
In its recently released list of best and worst states for working moms in 2021, WalletHub ranked each state, and the District of Columbia, based on three main factors: child care, professional opportunities for women and work-life balance.
Using data from sources like the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Institute for Women's Policy Research, WalletHub looked at several metrics under these main factors including quality and costs of child care; the gender pay gap and median women's pay; the ratio of women working in executive roles compared to men; and the quality of parental leave policies in the state.
When taking these metrics into consideration, Massachusetts ranked as the best state for working moms in 2021.
Currently, Massachusetts is one of nine states and the District of Columbia that have enacted paid family leave programs. And, full-time working women in Massachusetts earn, on average, 86.5% of what men earn in the state. That gap is smaller than the average 82.3% pay gap women face nationally.
When looking at the worst states for working moms in 2021, Louisiana takes the top spot due to its poor ranking for quality day-care centers, high gender pay gap and lack of paid family leave.
In Louisiana, full-time working women earn, on average, 73.6% of what men earn in the state. Additionally, without a paid family leave policy, workers in Louisiana only have access to unpaid leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. Still, roughly 63% of working people in the state are not able to access this unpaid leave due to loophole qualifications in the act that require employers to have 50 or more employees for at least 20 weeks in the current or previous year.
Take a look below to see how other states and the District of Columbia rank when it comes to best and worst states for working moms, according to WalletHub.
10 best states for working mothers:
2. District of Columbia
6. Rhode Island
8. New Jersey
9. New York
10 worst states for working mothers:
5. South Carolina
8. New Mexico
10. West Virginia
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