A new study by the group Child Care Aware has compared the costs of child care in all 50 states to the income levels of each state’s residents. According to researcher Dionne Dobbins, Montana parents who pay for child care have a pretty tough time.

"Montana looks pretty interesting," said Dobbins. "It is not one of the least affordable states, but it did rank as 16th least affordable for infants,and 12th least affordable for parents looking for care for a 4 year old. If parents are looking for school age care, they are actually listed as the number one least affordable place."

The Department of Health and Human Services says that, ideally, childcare shouldn’t be more than ten percent of a family’s income, but that is definitely not the case for many Montanans

"Childcare for school age child in a center for annual cost runs about $7,800," Dobbins said. "If you're looking at the percentage of the median income, that's almost 39% of a single parents income and it is about almost 11% of a married families income."

According to the study, the cost of infant care in a center for a year in Montana is around $9,000. For comparison, the same study places the cost of a year at a public college in the state at just $6,250.