The Best and Worst U.S. Cities to Be a New Mom, Ranked

Being a new mom is difficult—but some cities make the experience a little easier. LawnStarter has ranked the 10 best cities in the U.S. to be a first-time mother, with places in California, New York, Oregon and Massachusetts all making the cut.

To discover the best (and worst) places to have a baby, the company compared 174 of the biggest U.S. cities based on 43 signs of how friendly they are for new mothers.

These included maternity care, such as access to ob-gyn physicians and to lactation spaces, as well as the quality of hospitals.

LawnStarter also looked at the cities' child care facilities, such as access to pediatricians and baby supply stores.

It considered the protections afforded to mothers, including the strength of breastfeeding laws and the paid leave allowed for pregnancy and childbirth.

Finally, it looked at the crucial issue of affordability, such as delivery and child care costs.

Below are the 10 best and 10 worst U.S. cities to be a new mom, according to the study.

10 Best U.S. Cities to Be a New Mom

  1. Salem, Oregon
  2. Portland, Oregon
  3. Jersey City, New Jersey
  4. Eugene, Oregon
  5. Yonkers, New York
  6. Paterson, New Jersey
  7. Sunnyvale, California
  8. New York, New York
  9. Boston, Massachusetts
  10. Bellevue, Washington

The top 10 cities are split between the east and west coasts and, according to LawnStarter, what they have in common is the strength of policies that protect moms' jobs and maternal rights.

10 Worst U.S. Cities to Be a New Mom

  1. Detroit, Michigan
  2. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  3. New Orleans, Louisiana
  4. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  5. Las Vegas, Nevada
  6. Tallahassee, Florida
  7. Memphis, Tennessee
  8. North Las Vegas, Nevada
  9. Cleveland, Ohio
  10. Norfolk, Virginia

LawnStarter said Detroit was ranked worst of the 174 cities because of its poor child care and home and outdoor environments. It came bottom in the socio-economic category and tied for last place on legal protections.

Cities in the middle of the U.S. tended to rank in the middle of the list. For example, no cities in Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri or Texas appeared in the 10 best or 10 worst lists.

LawnStarter also offered rankings for factors such as which cities have the most ob-gyn physicians or the highest-quality public hospitals.

Salinas, California, has the highest number of ob-gyns per 100,000 residents, while Louisville, Kentucky, has the lowest number. Irvine, California has the highest-quality public hospitals, while two cities—Joliet, Illinois, and Huntington Beach, California—tied for the lowest quality.

Babysitting is expensive, but some cities are more affordable than others. The lowest hourly babysitting rate can be found in three locations: Augusta, Georgia, and El Paso and Amarillo in Texas. Four Californian cities—San Francisco, Sunnyvale, San Jose and Oakland—have the most expensive babysitting rate.

Murfreesboro and Nashville, both in Tennessee, tied for the cities with the highest number of pediatricians per 100,000 residents. Five Texan cities tied for the lowest number: Fort Worth, Arlington, Frisco, Plano and Dallas.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota, has the highest number of child care workers per 100,000 residents, while Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has the fewest.

Mother holding her baby
Stock image of a mother holding her baby. Salem, Oregon, has been ranked the best U.S. city for new moms. monkeybusinessimages/Getty