This Is How Much it Costs to Be a New Mommy in Your State
Expecting your first child comes with many expenses, some that aren’t a surprise, while others may be. The expected purchases like 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 5 most expensive states
The 5 least expensive states
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:
- The average cost of childbirth1 (weighted for vaginal vs. cesarean deliveries)2
- The 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.
- Average childbirth medical expenses: $6,724
- The average cost of infant daycare per year: $22,631
- Total cost: $29,355
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 months3just 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.
- Average childbirth medical expenses: $8,652
- The 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.
- Average childbirth medical expenses: $9,880
- The average cost of infant daycare per year: $14,144
- Total cost: $24,024
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.
- Average childbirth medical expenses: $9,095
- The average cost of infant daycare per year: $13,880
- Total cost: $22,975
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.
- Average childbirth medical expenses: $11,729
- The average cost of infant daycare per year: $10,957
- Total cost: $22,686
The least expensive states to be a new mom
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).
- Average childbirth medical expenses: $6,542
- The average cost of infant daycare per year: $4,822
- Total cost: $11,364
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?
- Average childbirth medical expenses: $5,885
- Average cost of infant daycare per year: $5,637
- Total cost: $11,522
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.)
- Average childbirth medical expenses: $6,356
- The average cost of infant daycare per year: $5,747
- Total cost: $12,103
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.
- Average childbirth medical expenses: $6,379
- The 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.
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 state||Childbirth medical expenses||Infant daycare cost||Total cost|
|1. District of Columbia||$6,724||$22,631||$29,355|
|3. New York||$9,880||$14,144||$24,024|
|6. New Jersey||$10,581||$11,810||$22,115|
|14. New Hampshire||$7,893||$11,810||$19,703|
|15. Rhode Island||$6,340||$12,867||$19,207|
|27. North Carolina||$7,293||$9,255||$16,548|
|32. North Dakota||$7,588||$8,217||$15,805|
|36. New Mexico||$7,097||$7,942||$15,039|
|39. West Virginia||$6,718||$7,926||$14,644|
|42. South Carolina||$7,281||$6,475||$13,756|
|47. South Dakota||$6,986||$5,661||$12,647|
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.
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Births – Method of Delivery”
Economic Policy Institute, “Childcare costs in the United States”
Transforming Maternity Care, “Average Charges for Giving Birth: State Charts”
The Motley Fool, “15 States with the Highest Cost of Living”
United States Census Bureau, “Birth Rates Vary From State to State”
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