Almost 4 in 10 children in the EU receive formal childcare services

Almost 4 in 10 children in the EU receive formal childcare services

Almost 4 in 10 children in the EU receive formal childcare services

The FINANCIAL -- In 2016, 39% of children aged 12 or below in the European Union (EU) received formal childcare services, with 29% paying full or reduced price and 10% using cost free services.

The uptake of paid services is similar in urban, suburban and rural areas (about one third of children received paid full or reduced price childcare services in all areas). There is a slight difference with regards to usage of cost free services: 11% for cities, 10% for towns and suburbs and only 6% for rural areas.

68% of EU households with at least one child aged 12 or less are satisfied with the access to formal childcare services. As the main reasons for not making (more) use of these services, EU households report finances (16%), no places available (4%), not suitable opening hours (3%), distance (2%) and unsatisfactory quality of services (1%).

Childcare and support to children is one of the 20 key principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights.

These selected findings, extracted from a special data collection of 2016 on access to social services, such as affordability of formal education, participation in training related to professional activities or hobbies, or use of health care services, are issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

Almost 9 out of 10 children receive formal childcare in Denmark

In eight EU Member States, more than half of the children aged 12 or below received formal childcare services. The highest share was registered in Denmark, where almost 86% of the children received such services. High shares for formal childcare services were also observed in Sweden (70%), the United Kingdom (65%), Germany (64%), followed by Finland (59%), Austria and Luxembourg (both 58%) and the Netherlands (56%). At the opposite end of the scale, the share was below 10% in nine countries: Latvia (1%),

Croatia (2%), Slovakia (3%), Estonia and Spain (both 4%), the Czech Republic (5%), Lithuania (6%), Italy (8%) and Bulgaria (9%).

Only 1 in 10 children use paid formal childcare in Estonia, Latvia and Romania

Eleven countries are above the EU average (29%) for paid formal childcare, and five of them have more than half of the child population receiving such services: Denmark (79%), Sweden (70%), the Netherlands (56%), Germany and Finland (both 52%). The lowest shares are observed in Estonia, Latvia and Romania (all 1%).

In half of the Member States, children in urban areas receive more paid formal childcare than in suburban and rural areas. In urban areas the highest share is noted for Sweden (almost 76%) and Denmark (almost 74%) and the lowest for Latvia and Estonia (both close to 1%). Children in rural areas receive more paid formal childcare than in urban and suburban areas in Denmark, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Children in towns and suburban areas receive more paid formal childcare than in urban and rural areas in Greece, Italy, Malta, Hungary, Spain, Latvia and Estonia.

In the majority of Member States, the uptake for paid services is bigger than cost free, apart from the United Kingdom (28% paid, 37% cost free), Greece (10% paid, 13% cost free), Malta (5% paid, 13% cost free), Romania (1% paid, 13% cost free) and Estonia (1% paid, 4% cost free).

Highest satisfaction with the access to formal childcare services in Denmark, lowest in Spain

94% of households with at least one child aged 12 or less in Denmark are satisfied with the access to formal childcare services, followed by Croatia (92%), Bulgaria and Sweden (both 89%). Financial concerns as the main reason for not making (more) use of formal childcare services were mentioned by households in Spain (52%), ahead of Cyprus (40%) and Ireland (38%). Only 1% of households in Sweden and Denmark report finances as the reason. Lack of places was most frequently reported in Latvia (16%), far ahead of France and Finland (both 9%). This reason was least frequently reported in Denmark, the Netherlands and Cyprus (all below 1%) The highest share of households reporting not suitable opening hours was registered in France (5%), followed by Finland, Italy, Spain and Greece (all 4%). Quality of services was an issue in Latvia (3%), Cyprus, Italy and Greece (all 2%).