No matter where you live, it’s tough to be a single mom. There is no break from the responsibilities. No partner to take on some of the work. No one else with whom to share the good days and help shoulder the bad. But it’s not uncommon either. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 12 million families were led by a single parent in 2014. And while there are lots of single dads taking on the role, the majority of single parents are women, to the tune of more than 80 percent.
Despite the extra challenges, there are a number of cities in the U.S. that make it easier to be a single mom. On the other hand, there are also quite a few that make it harder. A recent survey from the economics website, WalletHub, took a look at the best and worst cities for single moms. They looked at factors such as annual income, child care costs, access to health care and social support. Each factor was adjusted to reflect its importance — for example, the percentage of single moms with young children living below the poverty line was given more weight than the number of playgrounds available in an area.
The scores for 150 of this country’s largest cities can be seen on this map:
Top 10 best cities for single moms:
- Scottsdale, AZ
- Madison, WI
- Fremont, CA
- San Francisco, CA
- Seattle, WA
- Pembroke Pines, FL
- Irvine, CA
- Honolulu, HI
- Sioux Falls, SD
- Overland Park, KS
Top 10 worst cities for single moms:
- San Bernardino, CA
- Fresno, CA
- Detroit, MI
- Stockton, CA
- Los Angeles, CA
- Newark, NJ
- Laredo, TX
- North Las Vegas, NV
- Santa Ana, CA
- Oxnard, CA
The survey broke up the scores into factors that affected the economic and social health of moms (housing affordability, cost of babysitting, social networks for single moms, and access to health care, et cetera) and those that made a city “kid-friendly” (access to parks, low child care worker to kid ratios, opportunities for outdoor fun).
Interestingly, there were no cities that seemed to do well on both sides of this equation. For instance, here’s a look at the cities that ranked the highest for economic and social support for single moms and how they compared when also looking at the good stuff they offered for kids:
On the flip side, here are the cities that ranked well in overall kid-friendliness and how they compared when also looking at the economic and social support for single moms:
There’s not a single city that ranked within the top 10 for both the support offered to single moms and the benefits offered to their kids. While the cities that ranked the worst for one tended to also rank poorly for the other, the overall top 10 list is a compromise for single moms, and it’s one that reflects pretty accurately on all of the choices made by single parents — the struggle to find the best place to live is a balancing act between those that are best for single moms and those that are best for their children.
This feature originally appeared in MNN.