Special Report

Most Expensive States to Have a Child

The U.S. birth rate rose slightly between 2020 and 2021, the first increase in the number of births since 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The nearly 3.7 million births in 2021 represented a 1% increase from 2020, in contrast to the 4% decline from 2019 to 2020. This means that many more parents had to fund the cost of delivery.

According to the Peterson-Kaiser Family Foundation Health System Tracker, the average cost associated with pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum care totals $18,865 nationwide. Women enrolled in large health plans will pay an average of $2,854 out of pocket. (See how a delivery racks up against the most expensive medical ailments in America.)

Giving birth in nearly all cases requires hospitalization. According to finance website ValuePenguin.com, 99% of deliveries occur in a hospital, necessitating at least one overnight stay or more depending if the delivery was vaginal birth or by a cesarean section. Although insurance covers most of the expense, out-of-pocket costs vary depending on where you live. 

To determine how much childbirth costs in each state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on average out-of-pocket cost of childbirth in 2020 for health insurance plan members from Forbes, which sourced the data from Health Care Cost Institute. Only 45 states had data. 

We supplemented the data with the state data on the number of infant deaths and infant death rate per 1,000 live births for 2020, maternal deaths and maternal death rate per 100,000 live births for 2018-2020, and the number of births in 2020. We also added the average payments by employer-sponsored health insurers for childbirth in 37 states in 2020, and the uninsured rate in 2021 using different data sources.

Based on out-of-pocket costs, Michiganders pay the least amount for childbirth, at $974. That is a far cry from Nebraska, where the out-of-pocket expenses for childbirth average the highest, at $2,685. 

New parents also have to dig into their pockets after the baby arrives. MoneyGeek.com estimates buying baby formula, diapers, nursery items, and other supplies cost over $10,000 in the first year. Due to inflation, those supplies were $1,000 higher than in 2021, and that is assuming parents can find baby formula considering the shortage is ongoing. (This is the city with the lowest child care costs in every state.)

Click here to see the most expensive states to have a child.

Click here to see our detailed methodology.

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