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While having a baby is already a significant expense, where you live also matters when it comes to how much that little bundle of joy is going to affect your bank account.
A new study by personal finance social network WalletHub finds that Vermont is the best state in the country to have a baby based on 21 key metrics under the umbrella of budget, health care and baby-friendly environment. Vermont ranks No. 1 in the nation in health care, which takes into account factors like rates of infant mortality and low birth weight, and the number of pediatricians in the state per 100,000 residents.
Vermont takes the top spot for the second straight year in WalletHub's study. The worst state this year is Mississippi, which ranks last in health care and 29th in baby-friendly environment. North Dakota is the state with the smallest hospital fees for traditional births, while New Mexico is the most expensive. When it comes to Caesarean births, Maryland has the lowest hospital costs, while New Mexico is also the highest in that area.
The highest number of pediatricians per capita can be found in Vermont, while the lowest amount are in New Mexico. However, the state with the lowest annual infant-care cost is Mississippi, while the District of Columbia and Massachusetts are the most expensive.
Regardless of where you live, having a baby in the United States is more expensive than any other country in the world, according to the International Federation of Health Plans. A conventional delivery at a U.S. hospital costs an average of $10,002, and $15,240 for a C-section, compared to $2,824 for a normal birth in the Netherlands or $2,251 in Spain.
WalletHub's full rankings of best and worst states, including the District of Columbia, to have a baby:
2. North Dakota
14. New Hampshire
25. Rhode Island
33. South Dakota
T-34. District of Columbia
37. New Jersey
40. North Carolina
41. New Mexico
46. New York
48. South Carolina
49. West Virginia