You don’t need us to tell you: Life as a working mom can be tough, unfair and expensive. At least in Massachusetts it’s a bit easier than most everywhere else in the country … despite the high cost. That’s according to personal finance website WalletHub’s new ranking released Monday in advance of Mother’s Day.
WalletHub named Massachusetts the third-best state in America for working moms. The ranking is based on a number of factors, but what puts the Bay State at the top of the list is that it has the second-best “Child Care” ranking around – which is curious because WalletHub also says the highest child care cost in the country is right here (compared with the percentage of women’s median income in the state.)
So we checked out Child Care Aware of America, which shines a light on what is becoming a cost epidemic. The highest cost of family child care for infants is in Massachusetts at an astounding $20,125 per year as of 2016. That was 17 percent of a married couple’s median income – and 70 percent of a single parent’s.
Massachusetts also had the most expensive toddler care with parents spending more than $18,000 a year. And for pre-school for 4-year-olds? Massachusetts parents spend more than $14,000 a year for that, too.
So Massachusetts’ child care ranking obviously didn’t put too much weight into the economics of it. It did, however, consider day care quality, pediatricians per capita, school system quality, share of nationally accredited child care centers, and the number of childcare workers per number of children.
On the whole, WalletHub says Massachusetts ranks:
- 17th – Day-Care Quality
- 4th – Pediatricians per Capita
- 14th – Gender Pay Gap (Women’s Earnings as % of Men’s)
- 20th – Ratio of Female Executives to Male Executives
- 8th – Female Unemployment Rate
- 10th – Parental-Leave Policy Score
- 6th – Avg. Length of Woman’s Workday (in Hours)
- 13th – % of Single-Mom Families in Poverty
That’s all fine and dandy, but the child care crisis is hurting many working mothers.
Rosanna Hertz, a professor of sociology and women’s and gender studies at Wellesley College, told WalletHub there are plenty of ways state and local governments can help ease the burden.
“1. Subsidize daycare or offer free daycare. 2. Offer paid parental leaves and longer parent leaves – at least 6 months. And understand that as more women become single mothers they will not have the help of another pair of hands. 3. Offer assistance with eldercare. 4. Local governments could set up hotlines to help families find daycare slots and eldercare programs.”