The 10 Best (and Worst) Cities for Single Moms. Is Yours on the List?

Best cities for single moms

I’m not going to pretend for a second I know what it’s like to be a single mom.

So I’m just going to skip over this whole intro part and get right to the news: WalletHub recently released its list of 2016’s best and worst cities for single moms.

To create the list, the site compared the 150 most populous U.S. cities across two key dimensions: “single moms’ economic and social well-being” and “child-friendly environment.”

The first dimension includes factors like median annual income for single moms, financial insecurity of single mom households and access to affordable housing.

The second includes the ratio of childcare workers to children, and access to child care, playgrounds and parks.

Here are the 10 cities that scored the best — as well as the 10 worst.

The 10 Best Cities for Single Moms

  1. Scottsdale, Arizona
  2. Madison, Wisconsin
  3. Fremont, California
  4. San Francisco, California
  5. Seattle, Washington
  6. Pembroke Pines, Florida
  7. Irvine, California
  8. Honolulu, Hawaii
  9. Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  10. Overland Park, Kansas

The 10 Worst Cities for Single Moms

  1. San Bernardino, California
  2. Fresno, California
  3. Detroit, Michigan
  4. Stockton, California
  5. Los Angeles, California
  6. Newark, New Jersey
  7. Laredo, Texas
  8. North Las Vegas, Nevada
  9. Santa Ana, California
  10. Oxnard, California

A Few More Interesting Nuggets

The study pulled out some other interesting numbers, such as the city with the…

  • Highest median annual income for single moms, adjusted to cost of living: Gilbert, Arizona
  • Lowest median annual income for single moms, adjusted to cost of living: New York, New York
  • Lowest percentage of single moms with underaged children in poverty: Pembroke Pines, Florida
  • Highest percentage of single moms with underaged children in poverty: Brownsville, Texas
  • Lowest cost of a babysitter: Fort Wayne, Indiana
  • Highest cost of a babysitter: San Francisco, California

You can also check this map for a visual representation (blue is good; orange, not so much).

Source: WalletHub

Financial Advice for Single Moms

If you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to lean on your local resources.

“Both state and national programs that offer support and resources are invaluable to single parents,” says Alyssa R. Martina, lecturer at the University of Michigan law school, and a former single mother.

“Most counties around the country have financial assistance programs to help families in need.”

Specifically, Martina recommends exploring programs through the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and your local school district.

She also encourages single moms to invest money — even if you think you can’t.

“Start small but start anyway!” she says.

“Put aside a little bit of money each week for your rainy day fund and try to commit to investing a portion of it every quarter. It will add up and in a few years, you’ll be grateful that you had the discipline to save and even invest a little.”

If you’d like more advice, here are a few posts that might interest you:

Your Turn: Do you live in one of these cities? What do you think?

Susan Shain, senior writer for The Penny Hoarder, is always seeking adventure on a budget. Visit her blog at, or say hi on Twitter @susan_shain.