Early Ed Untapped Potential Idaho


October 14, 2023


The U.S. Chamber Foundation partnered with the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry (IACI) and the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children on this report to better understand the unique needs of Idaho’s working parents and examine the current childcare landscape. Idaho is a young state with a strong focus on family and community, which means that there is potential for attracting new employees and business to the state. However, quality childcare remains a struggle to find and afford for young families. In fact, roughly 40 percent of Idaho children lack access to childcare, without factoring in the high cost of care.

Our report estimates that Idaho loses $479 million annually as a result of childcare breakdowns.

Progress is being made in Idaho and both IACI and the U.S. Chamber Foundation are committed to supporting these positive steps forward. To do so, partnerships between early education advocates and the business community are vital to ensure that Idaho’s children, families, businesses, and economy are strong. As policymakers and business leaders consider ways to position Idaho for success, investing in childcare could enable Idaho to fully capitalize on its resources.

Here are our key findings in Idaho:

  • Idaho loses $65 million annually in tax revenue due to childcare issues
  • Absences and employee turnover cost Idaho employers $414 million per year
  • More than 90% of parents rely on family members for at least some childcare
  • About 1/2 of parents reported missing work due to childcare issues
  • 23% of parents postponed school or a training program due to childcare issues

Faces Behind the Numbers

Miki Welch’s employer-sponsored childcare, Kootenai Kids, is across the street from her work. She explains that, “childcare is an essential part of what makes our family run” and that without it, “our day-to-day would be much more difficult.”