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Top 10 Best States for Working Moms

Patrick Ball on May 10, 2017 05:21 PM

 Chances are, of one of every three women you meet in the workplace has a child under 18. That’s a lot of working moms. There are roughly 25 million of them here in the United States.

Being a working mom is, in many ways, a fact of modern life. But being a working mom ain’t easy.

From work-life imbalance to soaring child care costs, working moms face many challenges. While a growing number of employers are rising to the challenge, only small segments of the workforce have access to family-friendly benefits like paid maternity leave and backup child care. And, as it stands, supports for working moms—and their kids—can vary quite a bit from state to state.

With that in mind, the Think Tank evaluated all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., based on four key areas: child care, gender equality, economic opportunity and workplace supports to identify the best and worst states for working moms.

Here are the Top 10: 

  1. Massachusetts

  2. Vermont

  3. Minnesota

  4. Connecticut

  5. New Hampshire

  6. Washington, D.C.

  7. Maryland

  8. South Dakota

  9. Delaware

  10. Nebraska

So how does your state stack up? And what can be done to better support working moms everywhere? 

Here are two little things we can all do.

  1. We can be more flexible, with work arrangements, expectations and deadlines. Whether it’s a boss pushing back a deadline or a spouse picking up a few extra chores around the house, a little bit of flexibility and understanding goes along way to helping working moms make life work.
  2. We can normalize working caregivers. You’ve probably heard some version of “It’s a ‘Modern Family’ world but our policies are stuck in ‘Leave It To Beaver.’” That’s code for our work structures still presume there’s someone at home with the kids.
  • If you’re the boss, do your part by trying to avoid scheduling end-of-day meetings that conflict with the day care dash … or talk about how you have to duck out to pick up your own kids from school. Setting the example is empowering.
  • If you’re the spouse, share the load. To the extent that you’re able, share drop-off and pickup duties. Alternate sick days (unless you have access to employer-provided backup care). When you tackle working parenthood as a team, you’ll find that the strongest supports for working moms start at home.

You can find our methodology down below the infographic. And be sure to head over to Think Tank to read the full report.    

best states for working moms.jpg


The Best States for Working Moms rank is based on scores in four categories: Child Care, Gender Equality, Economic Opportunity, and Workplace Support.

“Child Care” includes the cost, quality, and availability of child care. The cost of child care is normalized by the median household income in each state to account for differences in earnings. Other factors that contribute to child well-being are also included in this category: number of pediatricians per 10,000 children, the percentage of children without health insurance, and the percentage of students at or above proficiency in math and reading. Data are from, American Board of Pediatrics, Kaiser Family Foundation, and

  • “Gender Equality” measures the gender pay gap, the ratio of female executives to male executives, the female labor force participation rate, and the gender representation gap (calculated as the ratio of female employees to male employees). Data are from the US Census Bureau, and the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
  • “Economic Opportunity” includes women’s median salary, the percentage of families in poverty, and the female unemployment rate. Women’s median salary is normalized by the cost of living in each state to arrive at purchasing power. These data are from the US Census Bureau, and the MIT living wage project.
  • “Workplace Support” includes women’s average commute time, the number of companies listed in Working Mother Best Companies for Women operating in the state, and women’s weekly average hours worked. These data are from Working Mother, and the US Census Bureau.

Metrics in these categories were normalized on a scale from 0 to 100, and combined using a weighted average with the following weights: Child Care (30%), Gender Equality (30%), Economic Opportunity (20%), and Workplace Support (20%).

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