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Net childcare costs in EU countries

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Rastrigina, O., Pacifico, D., & Damwerth, R.
Publication Date: 
1 May 2020


1. Early childhood education and care (ECEC, or “childcare”) is attracting growing policy attention. First, it is becoming more common. Young children are increasingly cared for out-of-home in day-care centres, kindergartens or pre-primary schools, rather than by parents or relatives at home. On average across EU countries, one-third of children under the age of three participate in out-of-home ECEC, rising to almost 90% for three- to fiveyear-olds.1  

2. Second, high-quality ECEC carries many social and economic benefits. A growing body of research recognises that participation is beneficial for young children, especially those from low-income backgrounds (OECD, 2018[1]; Browne and Neumann, 2017[2]). Accessible, affordable and good-quality ECEC also protects against poverty and strengthens equality of opportunity by facilitating parental employment, boosting family income, and by promoting child development, child well-being, and success later in life (OECD, 2018[3]; OECD, 2015[4]; OECD, 2011[5]).