The top 10 states to raise a baby

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Personal Finance

The top 10 states to raise a baby

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Raising a baby doesn't come cheap — and once you add in expenses like doctor appointments and day care, the costs of child-rearing may be more manageable in certain states than others.

New data from WalletHub found that some states have better financial conditions for bringing up baby. The personal finance site ranked U.S. states on a 100-point scale, with 100 representing optimal conditions.

To crunch these numbers, WalletHub analyzed 20 different lifestyle factors grouped into four categories: cost, health care, baby friendliness and family friendliness. Baby friendliness included items such as parental leave policies and child care centers per capita. Family friendliness stemmed from the site's previous "Best and Worst States to Raise a Family" survey, which looked at elements like school quality and housing affordability.

For some perks, where you work may be as important as where you live. Only 15 percent of employers offered paid leave in 2016, according to the National Study of Employers. This includes 19 percent of large companies (more than 1,000 employees), and 14 percent of small companies (50 to 99 employees).

The future doesn't look much brighter. Only 33 percent of employers would like to offer paid family leave in 2018, just 1 percentage point above the current percentage, according to a survey by the Disability Management Employer Coalition and The Standard.

Based on the WalletHub's findings, here are the top 10 states to raise a child:

  • 1) Vermont

    Total Score: 71.77

    Baby friendliness rank: 4

    Family friendliness rank: 3

    Vermont scores high on all fronts in the WalletHub data, boasting a low infant mortality rate, high numbers of pediatricians and family doctors per capita, and tying with the District of Columbia for most midwives and OB-GYNs per capita.

  • Stuart O'Sullivan | Getty Images
  • 2) Minnesota

    Total Score: 69.62

    Baby friendliness rank: 5

    Family friendliness rank: 4

    Need a hand to hold at the hospital? Minnesota ranks fifth in the nation for the most midwives and OB-GYNs per capita.

  • Per Breiehagen | Getty Images
  • 3) New Hampshire

    Total Score: 68.22

    Baby friendliness rank: 28

    Family friendliness rank: 2

    New Hampshire scores second for having low hospital cesarean delivery charges.

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  • 4) Connecticut

    Total Score: 64.75

    Baby friendliness rank: 3

    Family friendliness rank: 9

    Watch out for those day-care bills. While Connecticut fares well as a whole in the WalletHub rankings, it has one of the highest average annual infant-care costs.

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  • 5) North Dakota

    Total Score: 64.67

    Baby friendliness rank: 33

    Family friendliness rank: 1

    Not only does North Dakota have the cheapest hospital conventional delivery charges, it also scores well on low hospital cesarean delivery charges.

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  • 6) Massachusetts

    Total Score: 63.28

    Baby friendliness rank: 9

    Family friendliness rank: 6

    Massachusetts is one of the costliest states for infant care, but it also has one of the lowest infant mortality rates.

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  • 7) Maine

    Total Score: 61.91

    Baby friendliness rank: 10

    Family friendliness rank: 20

    Maine scores third for having the most midwives and OB-GYNs per capita.

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  • 8) Utah

    Total Score: 60.53

    Baby friendliness rank: 23

    Family friendliness rank: 12

    Utah got a score boost from having one of the lowest hospital cesarean delivery charges, but it also has the second-fewest child-care centers per capita. (That's 13 times less than Wyoming, the state with the most child-care centers.)

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  • 9) Iowa

    Total Score: 60.49

    Baby friendliness rank: 22

    Family friendliness rank: 8

    Iowa has the second-lowest infant mortality rate out of all states.

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  • 10) Nebraska

    Total Score: 57.84

    Baby friendliness rank: 30

    Family friendliness rank: 5

    Scheduling a checkup is a breeze — Nebraska ranks fifth in the most pediatricians and family doctors per capita.

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