The Missoula Chamber of Commerce recently unveiled a revealing survey on the costs of childcare, as compared to other major living expenses.

Director of Government Affairs for the Missoula Chamber of Commerce, Clint Burson said concerns from area employers regarding the cost and availability of child care for their employees sparked the creation of the survey.

“The two conclusions which we totally expected were that one, child care is very expensive, and the second one is that good child care is hard to find,” said Burson. “There are a lot of opportunities for child care out there, but a lot of those are places where people felt like they really didn’t want to leave their children. There are also a number of really great child care places out there, but the problem is that there just aren’t enough of them. Parents find those good places and keep their kids there for years and then other folks who want their kids in that facility are on long waiting lists.”

Burson laid out the numbers, and the cost of child care is highest for those ages 0 to two years of age.

“The most expensive child care is for infants, but on average its about $640 a month and that’s the across the board average for all ages, that that would be their fourth highest expense after housing, food, transportation and then child care,” he said. “If they have a child from zero to two years then it becomes their second most expensive household expense, right behind housing. That’s for one child, and then if you have twins you’ll be spending more than on any other expense just for child care. So, it becomes financially unreasonable to continue to work.”

Burson said now that the survey has been released and the problem is known, then the various stakeholders, parents, daycare providers, employers and city officials can begin to work on the problem of finding affordable child care for the future.

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