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.”
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.
“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:
- District of Columbia
- Rhode Island
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Dakota
- New Hampshire
- North Carolina
- South Dakota
- New Mexico
- West Virginia
- South Carolina