Best and worst states to be a working mom

BY Sarah McHaney  May 7, 2014 at 12:51 PM EDT
Maintaining the perfect work-life balance can be difficult, but according to a new survey, some states make it easier to be a working mom. Photo by Getty Images

Maintaining the perfect work-life balance can be difficult, but according to a new survey, some states make it easier to be a working mom. Photo by Getty Images

Parents have an increasing number of items to juggle, so striking the right work-life balance can be tricky. Women in particular seek balance — they comprise of half the workforce but still perform the majority of housework and child care.

parenting now logoUsing a variety of measures including “day care and public school quality,” “child care costs,” “gender pay gap” and “the length of an average woman’s work day,” the personal finance website WalletHub has ranked the best and worst states for a mother to have a job outside of the home.

According to the survey, Oregon is the most welcoming state for women divided between the office and home. It has strong rankings in both day care options and professional opportunities. On the other end, Louisiana ranked last along with neighbor, Mississippi. Both states had low-rated daycare systems and two of the highest gender pay gaps. In Louisiana a woman makes, on average, 72 percent of what a man makes.

Both New York and the District of Columbia had highly ranked child care options, but they come at a steep cost. In New York child care costs 27.5 percent of the median income for a woman, in D.C. it’s 24.5 percent.

As the survey shows, most women have advantages and disadvantages in every state. Alabama has one of the worst-ranked daycare systems (though one of the least expensive), but it also has the highest women-to-men ratio in executive positions.

WalletHub asked several women about their findings, specifically whether striking the right balance is becoming easier for working moms. Jennifer Owens from the Working Mother Research Institute said, “In some ways it’s easier, with the rise of 24/7 technology, more access to workplace flexibility and increasing hands-on parenting by men. But 24/7 technology has also made it harder to step away from work, while parenting demands on women have also increased in the past decade.”

Finding the balance isn’t easy, but as Mother’s Day approaches it might be a good time to thank your own working mom for trying.

Top 10 states to be a working mom:

1. Oregon
2. District of Columbia
3. Vermont
4. Maine
5. New York
6. Delaware
7. Rhode Island
8. California
9. Massachusetts
10. Ohio

See where all 50 states rank here.