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With Father’s Day just around the corner, it’s a good time to reflect on the challenges faced by working dads in the United States. WalletHub recently released its report on the best and worst states for working dads in 2023.

Back in 1960, 75% of American families relied on a single income, that of the dad, who spent much of his week at work while mom stayed home with the kids. Now, 71.1% of married mothers work, that’s still quite a bit lower than the 93.7% of married fathers who do.

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The contemporary dad no longer fits neatly into the standard of the married breadwinner and disciplinarian. Not all working dads are in the same situation, though. Those who live in states with greater economic opportunity and quality of life have it better than others.

WalletHub compared all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia across 23 key indicators. They ranged from the average length of the workday for men to child-care costs and the share of men in good or better health. The results revealed significant variations in the experiences of working dads across the country.

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Topping the list of the best states for working dads are Massachusetts, the District of Columbia, and Connecticut. These states offer favorable conditions such as lower unemployment rates, higher rates of health insurance coverage, and more affordable child-care costs. On the other end of the spectrum, states like Alaska, Oklahoma, and Idaho ranked among the worst for working dads.

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Where Does Indiana place in the rankings?

Indiana ranked at #22 in the nation with the highest score achieved for childcare. Conversely, health was the subset in most need of improvement. Linda Nielsen, Professor at Wake Forest University stated,

“According to the research on paternity leaves, many men are reluctant or refuse to take these leaves because they are afraid that it will hurt their family later on. Unselfishly, they sacrifice what they would like to do (take leave to be with their newborns) for what they are ‘expected’ to do.”

South Dakota boasts the lowest unemployment rate for dads with kids aged 0 to 17, whereas West Virginia experiences the highest rate. Massachusetts leads in terms of low male uninsured rates, while Texas struggles with a significantly higher rate.

Best States for Working Dads
1. Massachusetts
2. District of Columbia
3. Connecticut
4. Minnesota
5. New Jersey
6. Rhode Island
7. Wisconsin
8. New Hampshire
9. Virginia
10. Washington

When it comes to early child-care costs, South Dakota stands out for its affordability, while New York presents the highest costs in relation to median family income. Hawaii shines with the lowest percentage of men unable to afford a doctor visit due to costs, while Georgia struggles in this area.

Worst States for Working Dads
42. Alaska
43. Oklahoma
44. Idaho
45. Alabama
46. South Carolina
47. Louisiana
48. West Virginia
49. Mississippi
50. Nevada
51. New Mexico


These findings emphasize the need for continued efforts to support working dads in achieving work-life balance. By addressing issues such as unemployment rates, healthcare coverage, and child-care costs, states can create an environment that allows fathers to excel in their professional and parental responsibilities.

Ultimately, improving conditions for working dads benefits not only individual families but also society as a whole.