High costs bring down NJ’s score on list of best states for having a baby
You're better off having a baby in New Jersey than in most other states, even though costs are through the roof here, according to new rankings.
2021's Best & Worst States to Have a Baby, compiled by personal finance website WalletHub, ranks New Jersey 13th among the 50 states and Washington, D.C.
The report looked at dozens of measures across four key categories: cost, health care, baby-friendliness, and family-friendliness.
"Pregnant women might have an increased risk of severe illness or birth complications due to coronavirus, according to the CDC. Luckily, it is safe for pregnant women to receive the COVID-19 vaccine," WalletHub wrote.
In the report, New Jersey ranks as the one of the costliest states for having a baby (No. 49). The category includes measures such as the annual cost of early child care, average health-insurance premiums, and the cost of newborn screening.
The Garden State ranks among the top-five most expensive states for charges related to c-section deliveries and traditional deliveries, according to the report.
In the report's category of health care, New Jersey posts one of the lowest rates of infant mortality.
But the Garden State is lagging significantly when it comes to maternal mortality, according to Melissa Sampath, vice president of community mental health services for CarePlus NJ and co-founder of the organization's Maternal & Family Center.
"On average, for every 100,000 live births, 47 women die, compared to 20 nationally," Sampath said. "Across the board, maternal mental health conditions are one of the most common complications during pregnancy and during the postpartum period, with about 75% of moms going untreated."
Maternal health conditions overwhelmingly affect women of color, Sampath added.
New Jersey in early 2021 unveiled a plan to reduce maternal mortality by half over five years.
In the report, New Jersey ranks 25th among the states in the category of health care, and ranks No. 7 for both baby-friendliness and family-friendliness.
According to WalletHub, Massachusetts is the best spot to have a baby, and Mississippi is the worst.
Contact reporter Dino Flammia at firstname.lastname@example.org.