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These are the best — and worst — states for working moms

Having strong parental-leave policies and access to child care and job opportunities make a state good for working moms, says a new report.
/ Source: TODAY

Looking for a good state to be a working mother? Think Ben & Jerry's ice cream, maple syrup, and snowy winters. Vermont is the best state for working moms according to a recent report from Wallethub, a personal finance website.

“The states that have been doing well, continue doing well, and fine-tune policy,” said Jill Gonzalez, an analyst at Wallethub. “And the states that haven’t done well haven’t seen too much movement.”

Vermont is the best state for working moms.
Vermont is the best state for working moms. Getty Images stock

The other states (and one district) in the top five are Minnesota, Massachusetts, the District of Columbia and Connecticut. Differences among states come down to a state's political leanings — not location, the study found.

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“This does not follow a regional trend," Gonzalez said. "It does tend to fall across political lines. Blue states tend to be a little friendlier to working moms."

Since 2014, Wallethub has been ranking states on how they supportive they are of working mothers. In the United States, women account for half of all employees, but more than 70 percent of women in the workforce have young children. Wallethub examines where each state stands on such issues as child care, professional opportunities and work-life balance.

In states at the top of the list, the benefits work together to create a healthy environment.

“The categories are very much intertwined," Gonzalez said. "These states tend to have very strong parental-leave policies. Professional opportunities are better when moms don’t have to be stressed (about missing work) and we also see that child care tends to do better, too."

The bottom states — South Carolina, Nevada, Alabama, Louisiana and Idaho — provide the least access to professional opportunities and childcare, meaning moms may struggle with work-life balance. But Gonzalez remains hopeful that data can spark improvement by showing what’s possible.

“It is important to know that there can be change,” she said.

The results show women in low-ranking states that “they are not alone; there might be something wrong and you can bring this to the attention of local authorities and business leaders," she noted.

Gonzalez said the rankings can motivate women to advocate for themselves at their companies, in their cities and even statewide.

“It is hugely important, especially in these states at the bottom of the list where policy change isn’t even being talked about,” she said.

Here's the list:

  1. Vermont
  2. Minnesota
  3. Massachusetts
  4. District of Columbia
  5. Connecticut
  6. Rhode Island
  7. Maine
  8. New Jersey
  9. Delaware
  10. New York
  11. North Dakota
  12. Oregon
  13. California
  14. Wisconsin
  15. Indiana
  16. Montana
  17. Colorado
  18. Illinois
  19. New Hampshire
  20. Kansas
  21. Iowa
  22. Nebraska
  23. Washington
  24. Hawaii
  25. North Carolina
  26. Florida
  27. Kentucky
  28. Utah
  29. Maryland
  30. Virginia
  31. Ohio
  32. Tennessee
  33. Oklahoma
  34. South Dakota
  35. Arizona
  36. Michigan
  37. New Mexico
  38. Missouri
  39. Pennsylvania
  40. Arkansas
  41. Alaska
  42. Texas
  43. Wyoming
  44. Georgia
  45. West Virginia
  46. Mississippi
  47. South Carolina
  48. Nevada
  49. Alabama
  50. Louisiana
  51. Idaho