HOUSTON (CW39) With the average birth costing over $3,000 for mothers with insurance, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2022’s Best & Worst States to Have a Baby, as well as accompanying videos and expert commentary.

What drives the birth rate to be in a continuing downward trend in the US?

First, in an advanced economy like ours, birthrates tend to track economic conditions. When things are going well, young couples judge that they can afford a child (or another child). That is why the birthrate went down rather sharply when the Great Recession hit. And it is not surprising that they are low today, because inflation and COVID have left many people feeling quite uncertain about their economic futures. Second, I think we are still seeing a long-term process of change, which started in the second half of the 20th century, in which fewer and fewer Americans – and particularly women – invest their identities in full-time parenthood. Combining work and family promises a much richer life, even if the United States makes it harder to combine them successfully than our peer nations do. We are the only advanced economy in the world that does not have a national paid parental leave benefit, our childcare system is private and costly, and only about half the states guarantee paid sick leave. Absent these supports, while people still want children, they tend to have fewer, and have them later in life, compared to the past.

Matthew Weinshenker – Chair of Sociology & Anthropology; Associate Professor, Fordham University

To determine the most ideal places in the U.S. for parents and their newborns, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 32 key measures of cost, health care accessibility and baby-friendliness. The data set ranges from hospital conventional-delivery charges to annual average infant-care costs to pediatricians per capita.

Having a Baby in Texas (1=Best; 25=Avg.):

  • 29th – Hospital Cesarean-Delivery Charges
  • 29th – Hospital Conventional-Delivery Charges
  • 32nd – Avg. Annual Cost of Early Child Care
  • 23rd – Infant Mortality Rate
  • 26th – Rate of Low Birth-Weight
  • 35th – Midwives & OB-GYNs per Capita
  • 35th – Pediatricians & Family Medicine Physicians per Capita
  • 48th – Child-Care Centers per Capita
  • 27th – Parental-Leave Policy Score
  • 24th – % of Residents Who Are Fully Vaccinated