This Is How Much It Costs to Be a New Mom in Your State

how much it costs to be a new mom in each state

When you’re expecting your first kid, some costs come as no surprise—a new crib, dozens of diapers, that woodland animal mobile your baby needs.

But what about postpartum care? Or the cash required to properly babyproof your home? Dare we mention the bill you might get for the green Jell-O you’ll suffer through during your hospital stay?

As a first-time (or expectant) mom, you may not know how much it costs to have a little one—so in honor of your first Mother’s Day, we did some digging. We found that in the US, the average cost for childbirth and childcare is a staggering $17,433 in the first year alone. (And by the way, the US is the most expensive country to give birth in.)

See how much it costs to become a newly-minted mom in your state—and which states have the highest price of admission to the parenthood club.

the five most and least expensive states to be a new mom

The 5 least expensive states

  1. Mississippi
  2. Alabama
  3. Louisiana
  4. Arkansas
  5. South Dakota

Our ranking criteria

To determine our rankings, we considered how much it costs to deliver a baby in each state (before insurance), as well as the cost of daycare for your tiny human’s first year.

Of course, there are dozens of costs associated with pregnancy and new motherhood not accounted for in our data (like the nine months you’ll be eating for two or the nursery you’ll create from scratch).

Here are the basic costs many moms encounter from the get-go:

  • Average cost of childbirth1 (weighted for vaginal vs. cesarean deliveries)2
  • Average cost of infant daycare for one year3

One other thing to note: Our data doesn’t take insurance coverage into account. Insurance companies decide how much of the medical expense associated with childbirth they want to shoulder on a state-by-state basis—so what’s covered in your state might not be in another.

The most expensive states to be a new mom

#1. Washington, DC

The cost of living in the nation’s capital is already on the high side, but housing isn’t the only thing that’s pricey in the 202. DC’s average daycare costs are higher than the next highest state by $5,569.

If you plan to work full-time after your little one arrives—and if you don’t have a grandparent or family friend you can lean on for occasional help—you’ll drop over $20,000 per year on childcare alone.

Cost factors

  • Average childbirth medical expenses: $6,724
  • Average cost of infant daycare per year: $22,631
  • Total cost: $29,355

#2. Massachusetts

Childcare costs in the Bay State are so high that a new parent who makes minimum wage would need to work forty hours a week for ten months3 just to pay for a year’s worth of childcare—a damper on a baby shower if we’ve ever seen one.

We’ll give Massachusetts this, though: it’s the best state for childhood education, which may soften your sticker shock.

Cost factors

  • Average childbirth medical expenses: $8,652
  • Average cost of infant daycare per year: $17,062
  • Total cost: $25,714

#3. New York

Everything in New York (well, in the Big Apple at least) is more expensive—even having a baby.

New York’s infant daycare costs average $14,144 per year. Plus, the Empire State has the third highest childbirth cost—and a 2010 analysis found that New York saw the largest percentage increase in uncomplicated vaginal delivery costs in one year.4

Those figures alone are hard to handle—and they don’t even factor in money for nursery basics, new pacifiers, or late-night grocery store runs for diapers.

Cost factors

  • Average childbirth medical expenses: $9,880
  • Average cost of infant daycare per year: $14,144
  • Total cost: $24,024

#4. Connecticut

Connecticut has the seventh highest cost of living in the US.5 And the cost to become a first-time parent in the Constitution State? Not much better.

The average cost of a year’s worth of infant daycare in Connecticut is $13,880—that’s $1,157 per month on a babysitter, basically.

Cost factors

  • Average childbirth medical expenses: $9,095
  • Average cost of infant daycare per year: $13,880
  • Total cost: $22,975

#5. Alaska

Alaska is the only rural state to make our top five—but there’s a good reason it’s up there on our rankings.

According to Courtney Bullard, education and collaborations director at the Utah Health Policy Project, insurance companies may cover less in rural areas because there are fewer healthcare providers. That actually drives up the cost of childbirth—even before health insurance coverage kicks in.

In Alaska, bears in your backyard aren’t the only thing to worry about—the upfront cost to have a kid is also alarming.

Cost factors

  • Average childbirth medical expenses: $11,729
  • Average cost of infant daycare per year: $10,957
  • Total cost: $22,686

The least expensive states to be a new mom

#1. Mississippi

Mississippi is the first of four southern states to snag a spot on our five cheapest places to become a new mom—and in comparison to costs in many northeastern states, there’s a stark difference.

On average, it costs $11,364 to have a baby in the Magnolia State. The cost in Washington, DC ($29,355) is more than double that.

To break it down further, daycare costs in Mississippi teeter around $5,000 per year, which is almost—wait for it—five times cheaper than DC’s average ($22,631).

Cost factors

  • Average childbirth medical expenses: $6,542
  • Average cost of infant daycare per year: $4,822
  • Total cost: $11,364

#2. Alabama

When it comes to low childbirth and daycare costs, Alabama isn’t far behind its Mississippian neighbor. Alabama’s average cost of infant care is $5,637, which ends up being in the ballpark of $470 per month.

Roll tide, right?

Cost factors

  • Average childbirth medical expenses: $5,885
  • Average cost of infant daycare per year: $5,637
  • Total cost: $11,522

#3. Louisiana

With reasonable housing costs and one of the cheapest college towns in the US, life on the Bayou is affordable in many ways—including becoming a mom.

At $12,103 a year, Louisiana’s childbirth and childcare costs combined are cheaper than daycare costs alone in DC, Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut.

(And let’s be real: less money spent on these bills means more cash to splurge on beignets.)

Cost factors

  • Average childbirth medical expenses: $6,356
  • Average cost of infant daycare per year: $5,747
  • Total cost: $12,103

#4. Arkansas

Birthplace of the late and great Johnny Cash and home to the World Championship Duck Calling Contest (#themoreyouknow), Arkansas is also one of the most affordable spots to have a baby.

In fact, the overall cost to become a first-time mama in Arkansas is cheaper than New York’s average cost ($14,144) to put a little one through a year of daycare.

Cost factors

  • Average childbirth medical expenses: $6,379
  • Average cost of infant daycare per year: $5,995
  • Total cost: $12,374

#5. South Dakota

Step aside, Mount Rushmore—you’re not South Dakota’s only claim to fame. South Dakota has the fifth highest birth rate per capita of any US state,6 and higher birth rates tend to correlate with a lower cost of childbirth.

Clearly, South Dakota’s high birth rate pays off. Plus, your kids will have plenty of playmates—and you’ll have a slew of neighborhood babysitters to choose from next time you need a night out.

Cost factors

  • Average childbirth medical expenses: $6,986
  • Average cost of infant daycare per year: $5,661
  • Total cost: $12,647

Each state’s cost to be a first-time mom

Rank and stateChildbirth medical expensesInfant daycare costTotal cost
1. District of Columbia$6,724$22,631$29,355
2. Massachusetts$8,652$17,062$25,714
3. New York$9,880$14,144$24,024
4. Connecticut$9,095$13,880$22,975
5. Alaska$11,729$10,957$22,686
6. New Jersey$10,581$11,810$22,115
7. Minnesota$7,272$14,366$21,638
8. Maryland$7,605$13,932$21,537
9. Illinois$8,553$12,964$21,517
10. Wisconsin$9,378$11,579$20,957
11. Colorado$7,669$13,154$20,823
12. California$8,601$11,817$20,418
13. Washington$7,462$12,733$20,195
14. New Hampshire$7,893$11,810$19,703
15. Rhode Island$6,340$12,867$19,207
16. Oregon$7,543$11,322$18,865
17. Vermont$7,475$11,270$18,745
18. Pennsylvania$7,942$10,640$18,582
19. Virginia$8,020$10,458$18,478
20. Delaware$7,108$11,000$18,108
21. Nevada$8,130$9,852$17,982
22. Kansas$6,493$11,201$17,694
23. Florida$8,800$8,694$17,494
24. Arizona$7,716$9,437$17,153
25. Texas$8,381$8,759$17,140
26. Michigan$6,720$9,882$16,602
27. North Carolina$7,293$9,255$16,548
28. Indiana$7,437$8,918$16,355
29. Maine$6,827$9,512$16,339
30. Iowa$6,737$9,485$16,222
31. Montana$6,861$9,062$15,923
32. North Dakota$7,588$8,217$15,805
33. Ohio$6,647$8,977$15,624
34. Missouri$6,798$8,632$15,430
35. Georgia$7,704$7,644$15,348
36. New Mexico$7,097$7,942$15,039
37. Utah$6,275$8,641$14,916
38. Hawaii$6,550$8,280$14,380
39. West Virginia$6,718$7,926$14,644
40. Wyoming$7,795$6,541$14,336
41. Nebraska$6,373$7,926$14,299
42. South Carolina$7,281$6,475$13,756
43. Idaho$6,541$7,200$13,741
44. Oklahoma$6,862$6,788$13,650
45. Tennessee$7,596$5,857$13,453
46. Kentucky$6,809$6,294$13,103
47. South Dakota$6,986$5,661$12,647
48. Arkansas$6,379$5,995$12,374
49. Louisiana$6,356$5,747$12,103
50. Alabama$5,885$5,637$11,522
51. Mississippi$6,542$4,822$11,364
Rank and state
1. District of Columbia
2. Massachusetts
3. New York
4. Connecticut
5. Alaska
6. New Jersey
7. Minnesota
8. Maryland
9. Illinois
10. Wisconsin
11. Colorado
12. California
13. Washington
14. New Hampshire
15. Rhode Island
16. Oregon
17. Vermont
18. Pennsylvania
19. Virginia
20. Delaware
21. Nevada
22. Kansas
23. Florida
24. Arizona
25. Texas
26. Michigan
27. North Carolina
28. Indiana
29. Maine
30. Iowa
31. Montana
32. North Dakota
33. Ohio
34. Missouri
35. Georgia
36. New Mexico
37. Utah
38. Hawaii
39. West Virginia
40. Wyoming
41. Nebraska
42. South Carolina
43. Idaho
44. Oklahoma
45. Tennessee
46. Kentucky
47. South Dakota
48. Arkansas
49. Louisiana
50. Alabama
51. Mississippi
Childbirth medical expenses Infant daycare cost Total cost
$6,724 $22,631 $29,355
$8,652 $17,062 $25,714
$9,880 $14,144 $24,024
$9,095 $13,880 $22,975
$11,729 $10,957 $22,686
$10,581 $11,810 $22,115
$7,272 $14,366 $21,638
$7,605 $13,932 $21,537
$8,553 $12,964 $21,517
$9,378 $11,579 $20,957
$7,669 $13,154 $20,823
$8,601 $11,817 $20,418
$7,462 $12,733 $20,195
$7,893 $11,810 $19,703
$6,340 $12,867 $19,207
$7,543 $11,322 $18,865
$7,475 $11,270 $18,745
$7,942 $10,640 $18,582
$8,020 $10,458 $18,478
$7,108 $11,000 $18,108
$8,130 $9,852 $17,982
$6,493 $11,201 $17,694
$8,800 $8,694 $17,494
$7,716 $9,437 $17,153
$8,381 $8,759 $17,140
$6,720 $9,882 $16,602
$7,293 $9,255 $16,548
$7,437 $8,918 $16,355
$6,827 $9,512 $16,339
$6,737 $9,485 $16,222
$6,861 $9,062 $15,923
$7,588 $8,217 $15,805
$6,647 $8,977 $15,624
$6,798 $8,632 $15,430
$7,704 $7,644 $15,348
$7,097 $7,942 $15,039
$6,275 $8,641 $14,916
$6,550 $8,280 $14,380
$6,718 $7,926 $14,644
$7,795 $6,541 $14,336
$6,373 $7,926 $14,299
$7,281 $6,475 $13,756
$6,541 $7,200 $13,741
$6,862 $6,788 $13,650
$7,596 $5,857 $13,453
$6,809 $6,294 $13,103
$6,986 $5,661 $12,647
$6,379 $5,995 $12,374
$6,356 $5,747 $12,103
$5,885 $5,637 $11,522
$6,542 $4,822 $11,364

Methodology

Here are the data points Move.org analyzed to determine the most and least expensive states to become a new parent:

  • Average cost of infant day care for one year
  • Weighted childbirth cost
    • Uncomplicated vaginal births (68%)
    • Caesarean births (32%)

We used 2017 data on the number of vaginal births and C-sections in the US to weight the cost of childbirth. Generally, these figures include prenatal care.

Our weighted averages don’t account for complicated vaginal births, though, which can cause costs to skyrocket. C-sections, while less common than vaginal births, tend to be significantly more expensive as well.

Tell us what you think

To all our expectant and new moms reading: happy first Mother’s Day! If the lack of sleep and spit-up-on-your-favorite-shirt moments haven’t scared you away, we hope your state’s costs won’t either.

Want to know more about which cities and states are family- and women-friendly? Check out the Best Cities in America for Raising a Family and the Best Places for Women to Live.

How much does it cost to become a new parent in your state? We want to hear—let us know in the comments section below!

Sources

  1. Money, “Find Out How Much It Costs to Give Birth in Every State
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Births – Method of Delivery
  3. Economic Policy Institute, “Child care costs in the United States
  4. Transforming Maternity Care, “Average Charges for Giving Birth: State Charts
  5. The Motley Fool, “15 States with the Highest Cost of Living
  6. United States Census Bureau, “Birth Rates Vary From State to State

About Julia Campbell

Julia Campbell
Julia Campbell is a full-time writer who knows the tricks of the trade when it comes to planning a hassle-free move. Having moved seven times in the past five years, she draws from her own experience and industry expertise to help you avoid her biggest mistakes (like that time she thought she could get away with packing her dishes without wrapping them first).