Best and Worst States to be a Women in America

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State performance varied greatly in the United States, with top-ranking Massachusetts scoring more than four times better than bottom-ranking Louisiana. We found clear regional patterns in performance, with all 6 states in the northeast scoring among the 10 best nationally, while all 5 of the worst performing states were in the southeast. New Hampshire was the only state that scored in the top 40 percent of countries for all 12 indicators, while Alabama, Arkansas, and Louisiana scored in the bottom 40 percent across the board.

Major racial disparities affected the status of women in many US states—white women typically did best. Racial gaps were most marked for college degree attainment, representation in the state legislature, and maternal mortality. On average, 38 percent of white women had completed college, almost double the rate of Native American women, and in 26 states, no Hispanic women were represented in the state legislature. Large disparities also marked maternal mortality, with Black women experiencing higher mortality rates than white women in all states with data. In New Jersey, the maternal mortality rate among Black women, at 132 deaths per 100,000 live births, was almost four times the rate among white women.

Learn more about the best and worst states for women in the United States.