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The best and worst states for working mothers

Jeanie Ahn
Senior Producer/Reporter

When it comes to being a working mom, where you live can be a big factor according to a new study by WalletHub, which ranked all 50 states and the District of Columbia based on factors like the cost and quality of childcare, available parental leave policies and where states fall in the gender pay gap.

At the top of the list: Massachusetts — home to companies like GE, TJ Maxx and Raytheon. The New England state also topped the individual categories for childcare and work-life balance.

These are the best states to live in for working moms, according to a WalletHub study.

With New England states claiming 4 out of the top 5 spots, the northeast seems to be the most favorable region in the country for working mothers.

Some of the worst states for working mothers were in the red states, with low rankings averaging 32, whereas blue states averaged up at around 17.

These are the worst states for working moms, according to WalletHub.

"Southern states seem to have low quality day-care and large gender pay gaps in common. These states also have large shares of single moms with children younger than 18 who are living in poverty," said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez.

Childcare is top of mind for working mothers

For working moms, childcare is probably one of the biggest concerns. To determine a ranking specifically for this category, WalletHub looked at each state’s quality of accredited childcare as well as costs, the rate of pediatricians per capita and school system quality, among other factors. At the top again was Massachusetts, followed by Vermont and Connecticut.

The bottom three states for childcare are Idaho, Louisiana and California.

"California's low ranking is mostly caused by low day-care quality and high child-care costs, which amount to almost a quarter of women's median salary,” said Gonzalez.

The numbers speak for themselves: For working women in California, the median salary is the second lowest nationwide, at just below $31,000, and only 57% of working women have economic security, the lowest percentage in the country.

“The gender representation gap is still pretty large across different economic areas, with the exception of the healthcare and social assistance sectors,” said Gonzalez.

The top three states with more balance within their workforce were New Mexico, Vermont Florida. The states with the highest gender pay gap? Wyoming, Utah and Washington.

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