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mom bringing her child to bus stop on way to work

Best and Worst States for Working Moms in 2024

How family-friendly is your state?

By: GABRIELLE CARPENTER
Updated: May 3, 2024

Women make up 56% of the labor force, and 71.7% of them are mothers of children under 18 years old. Holding a career while raising a family is like juggling two full-time jobs. On top of that, most women earn about 83% of what men earn—that’s 83 cents for every man-earned dollar.

According to Tricia Dege, Founder of Mom Mastermind, while women and mothers can make modifications to improve their work and home life, it’s important to advocate for and participate in broader changes as well.

“States can support working mothers, creating ripple effects to families and communities, through guidelines (and in some cases incentives) for parental leave, equitable pay, and both longitudinal and backup childcare options. A partnership between states and businesses to collaborate on solutions, with significant input from working mothers, will lead to the best outcome.”

B2B Reviews compared all 50 states and the District of Columbia across 16 key metrics to determine which states are best for working moms in 2024.

Best and Worst States for Working Moms

Rank State State of Childcare Job Market Work-Life Balance & Health Cost of Living Total Weighted Score Score out of 100
1 New Hampshire 20 13 20 20 72 100%
2 Maryland 21 17 18 14 70 97.2%
3 South Dakota 18 15 14 20 68 93.3%
4 Massachusetts 15 18 22 10 65 89.3%
5 Vermont 15 19 22 8 63 87.4%
6 North Dakota 17 13 15 18 63 87.4%
7 Colorado 16 12 21 14 63 86.3%
8 Connecticut 17 12 19 14 62 85.8%
9 Oregon 18 17 18 8 61 84.5%
10 Washington 13 15 18 14 60 82.4%
11 Utah 13 13 17 16 59 81.6%
12 Virginia 19 14 12 13 58 80.4%
13 Maine 19 15 16 8 58 79.9%
14 Arizona 13 16 12 15 57 78.8%
15 Nebraska 13 15 16 13 57 78.8%
16 Minnesota 11 16 19 11 57 78.5%
17 New York 14 18 18 7 57 78.4%
18 New Jersey 13 13 18 11 56 77.0%
19 Rhode Island 11 13 19 12 56 76.9%
20 Hawaii 10 19 19 7 55 75.6%
21 Florida 17 19 8 11 55 75.5%
22 Alaska 12 15 13 14 54 74.5%
23 Kansas 14 13 11 15 54 74.4%
24 Pennsylvania 15 12 13 13 54 74.4%
25 California 11 17 17 8 53 73.6%
26 Iowa 17 10 14 13 53 73.3%
27 Delaware 15 13 15 9 53 73.0%
28 Wisconsin 12 11 16 13 52 72.2%
29 Missouri 14 12 13 13 52 72.0%
30 Illinois 11 12 15 14 52 71.2%
31 New Mexico 10 16 13 12 51 70.6%
32 Texas 15 12 7 17 51 70.5%
33 Ohio 17 7 11 14 50 69.2%
34 District of Columbia 11 14 17 8 50 68.8%
35 Idaho 13 11 13 12 50 68.5%
36 Wyoming 20 10 4 17 50 68.5%
37 Arkansas 13 13 8 15 48 66.7%
38 Nevada 10 15 8 15 48 66.6%
39 Georgia 17 15 6 9 47 64.9%
40 Michigan 11 8 13 14 46 63.2%
41 Montana 10 13 12 11 46 62.9%
42 Tennessee 9 15 9 13 45 62.3%
43 North Carolina 8 15 10 11 44 61.1%
44 Kentucky 15 9 6 14 44 60.9%
45 Oklahoma 13 12 6 11 42 57.3%
46 Indiana 11 8 7 15 41 57.0%
47 South Carolina 11 11 11 6 39 53.8%
48 Mississippi 13 8 3 8 32 44.6%
49 West Virginia 9 5 8 10 32 43.7%
50 Alabama 11 9 3 8 31 42.9%
51 Louisiana 8 5 2 12 27 37.5%

Note: Each column shows the total number of weighted points each state earned for that category.

best and worst for gender pay gap
best and worst for women protection laws
best and worst for childcare cost

Methodology

To determine the best and worst states for working mothers, our research team compared childcare, job markets, work-life balance, and living expenses for all 50 states and the District of Columbia using 16 key metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights.

Metrics that had a greater impact on reducing financial burdens and increasing time with family were given more weight.

States were ranked within each metric, earning a score based on the weighted value. States were then graded on a 100-point scale, with 100 points representing the most favorable conditions for mothers in the workforce.

State of Childcare - Total 25 Points

  • School System Quality (6 points)
    • Note: This metric measures student success rates, student safety, and school quality.
  • Parental Leave Policies (6 points)
  • Child Care Gap (6 points)
    • Note: This metric measures the number of children in need of daycare and the number of available spots in each state.
  • Cost of Childcare (7 points)
    • Note: This metric considers the average incomes of both single-parent married-couple households.

Job Market - Total 25 Points

  • Gender Pay Gap (6 points)
  • State Unemployment Rate (6 points)
  • State Employment Growth YoY (6 points)
  • Minimum Wage (7 points)

Work-Life Balance & Health - Total 25 Points

  • Percentage of Remote Work Opportunities (6 points)
  • Average Work Week (7 points)
    • Note: States with lower average work hours per week scored higher.
  • Protections for Women (5 points)
    • Note: This metric considers state-level laws and protections for women against sexual harassment. States earned additional points if they required training and added extra regulations.
  • Overall Health/Wellbeing (7 points)
    • Note: This metric considers the percentage of women who report poor health status, rates of uninsured women, and state depression rates.

Cost of Living - Total 25 Points

  • Average Grocery Run (6 points)
  • Average Income (7 points)
  • Average Rent (6 points)
  • State Income Tax (6 points)
    • Note: This metric measures state income tax as a percentage of the average household income.

The Bottom Line

“Regardless of state involvement, companies have the ability to adapt policies and procedures that support working mothers,” Dege says. “This may require creativity in the form of collaboratives or partnerships across corporations to involve employers of all sizes. Companies need to recognize that these basic factors weigh heavily on the female leadership pipeline. We can’t ignore the factors that are breaking rungs on the leadership ladder and leap to a desire for equity at the c-suite level.”

Working moms face many struggles, whether in seeking professional opportunities or raising their families. However, it is not an unsolvable problem. Companies can review their policies to ensure they’re providing adequate support.

Additionally, working mothers can learn how to prioritize aspects of their lives to avoid burnout, taking ownership of what is immediately within their control, as Dege says.

Fair Use Statement

With Mother’s Day fast approaching, share our findings with the working moms you know so they can see how their state ranked in this new report. You can also share this for noncommercial purposes, but we ask that you provide a link back to this page so readers have access to our full research and findings.

Data used to create our rankings were collected from the following sources:

  1. Annuity.org. “Average Paid Maternity Leave by State: 2024 Statistics." Accessed April 17th, 2024.
  2. Bipartisan Policy Center. “National and State Child Care Data Overview.” Accessed April 17th, 2024.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “BRFSS Prevalence & Trends Data—-Depression.” Accessed April 18th, 2024.
  4. KFF. “U.S. Women's Health Status Data.” Accessed April 17th, 2024.
  5. National Conference of State Legislatures. “Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.” Accessed April 18th, 2024.
  6. National Women's Law Center. “The Wage Gap, State by State.” Accessed April 17th, 2024.
  7. Scholaroo. "2023 State Education Rankings—Best to Worst." Accessed April 17th, 2024.
  8. SelectSoftware Reviews. “New Data Reveals the Work from Home Hotspots Across the U.S.” Accessed April 17th, 2024.
  9. Tax Foundation. “State Individual Income Tax Rates and Brackets, 2024.” Accessed April 17th, 2024.
  10. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “State and Metro Area Employment, Hours, & Earnings.” Accessed April 17th, 2024.
  11. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Unemployment Rates for States.” Accessed April 18th, 2024.
  12. U.S. Department of Labor. "Consolidated Minimum Wage Table.” Accessed April 17th, 2024.
  13. World Population Review. “Average Rent by State 2024.” Accessed April 17th, 2024.
  14. World Population Review. “Child Care Costs by State 2024.” Accessed April 18th, 2024.
  15. World Population Review. “Grocery Prices by State 2024.” Accessed April 17th, 2024.
  16. World Population Review. “Job Growth by State 2024.” Accessed April 17th, 2024.
  17. World Population Review. “Median Household Income by State 2024.” Accessed April 18th, 2024.