2023’s Best & Worst States for Working Moms

With Mother’s Day around the corner and 73% of women with children under age 18 having been in the labor force during 2022, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2023’s Best & Worst States for Working Moms.

In order to help ease the burden on mothers in the workforce, WalletHub compared the attractiveness of each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia for a working mother based on 17 key metrics. The data set ranges from the median women’s salary to the female unemployment rate to day-care quality.

Life as a Working Mom in California (1=Best; 25=Avg.):

  • 49th – Day-Care Quality
  • 44th – Child-Care Costs (Adjusted for Median Women’s Salary)
  • 21st – Pediatricians per Capita
  • 6th – Gender Pay Gap (Women’s Earnings as % of Men’s)
  • 23rd – Ratio of Female Executives to Male Executives
  • 48th – Median Women’s Salary (Adjusted for Cost of Living)
  • 40th – Female Unemployment Rate
  • 6th – Parental-Leave Policy Score
  • 15th – Avg. Length of Woman’s Work Week (in Hours)
  • 19th – % of Single-Mom Families in Poverty

Expert Commentary
What can companies do to help working parents balance home and work life?

“These changes start when employees are initially hired by having employers examine how their hiring decisions, workload assignments, mentorship, and expectations for promotion may already be biased against those who are assumed to take parental leave or have to negotiate work around life or family responsibilities. This often impacts younger women unfairly ‘mommy tracked’ even if they are not yet in a relationship or planning to marry or have children soon. Companies could allow for flexible work hours (possibly on an as-needed basis, but maybe automatic and granted every quarter), a mix of face-to-face and hybrid work, or the possibility of a four-day workweek. Supervisors should also check in with employees regularly and ask not just how their work is going, but how their life is going (happiness, ability to manage responsibilities, sudden changes at home or outside of work that may be impacting their satisfaction or ability to focus).”
— Jennifer L. Borda – Professor, University of New Hampshire

“Companies should provide flexibility – in the sense of ceding control more to workers – defining goals for them and then letting them reach them where and when they can best work. With clear goals and meaningful deadlines, workers typically do the work well and in a way that allows them to be full citizens, taking care also of family and community. It would take a change in how most people view management. Managers would have to learn that their job is to set goals and provide necessary resources for meeting them and not micro-managing how the work is implemented by their supervisees.”
— Lotte Bailyn – Professor Emerita, MIT

What careers are most difficult to balance work and family? Easiest?

“Careers with more flexibility include education, project management, and some IT work. However, many careers aligned with K-12 schedules tend to pay very poorly. The more challenging careers are shift work and careers demanding in-person or on-call work involving healthcare or service industries (nursing and medical/health industries, hospitality industries, etc.) and those with required billing or profit margins (law, finance, sales). Some entrepreneurs have been able to initiate their own terms to navigate work-family, though studies show that many also quickly revert to a more traditional work culture in order to produce greater revenue.”
— Jennifer L. Borda – Professor, University of New Hampshire

“Most difficult are those that actually require face-to-face interactions with someone – colleagues, clients, or customers. But as the pandemic showed, many more careers do not actually require this all the time, as previously assumed. The easiest is the opposite.”
— Lotte Bailyn – Professor Emerita, MIT

Given the current shift in the workforce supply-demand chain, and with 1 in 4 parents suffering from burnout, what are some key drivers to attract, retain and support working parents? 

“Working parents (not just mothers) need to be not only welcomed into, but really driving the conversations about how to rethink workplace culture, workforce expectations, and work-life negotiation…Also, there is a diverse population caring for children now, so being attuned to how different workers have different needs and how those needs may shift and evolve over time…Companies need to really examine their own culture and possibly outdated expectations of workers. Focus groups run by outside consultants could be helpful. Also, rather than expecting 5-day, 40-plus hour weeks, evaluating goals first and then working backward to determine what kind of workforce is needed to reach those goals. Work should not be, can no longer be, one size fits all.”
— Jennifer L. Borda – Professor, University of New Hampshire

For the full report, please visit:






Image Sources

  • Working mom: Pexels -Kampus Production