On average across Germany in March 2016 one carer looked after 4.3 children at a Kita, a day care station for children under three years of age, the study published by the Bertelsmann Foundation on Monday showed. That was an improvement from 4.8 children for every carer four years earlier.
Similarly in Kindergartens, a preschool teacher was caring for an average of 9.2 children, an improvement from 9.8 in 2012.
But the report also revealed stark differences in the quality of day care from state to state, with eastern German states having a particularly poor record overall.
Baden-Württemberg was found to have the best preschool care of the sixteen German states. Kita carers in the wealthy southern state looked after an average of three children, while kindergarten teachers cared for 7.2 children.
Saxony was the worst state for Kita care, with 6.5 tiny tots for every carer. The northeastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania was worst for Kindergarten care - every preschool teacher there had to keep an eye on 13.7 children.
The experts at the Bertelsmann Foundation said that only Baden-Württemberg was meeting the recommended ratios for teacher to child class sizes, which they set at 1:3 for Kitas and 1:7.5 for Kindergartens.
They also called for an additional government budget of €4.9 billion annually, part of which would fund a staff boost of 107,200 carers.
“At the moment the educational chances of children in Germany are largely dependant on where they happen to be born,” said Jörg Dräger, president of the Bertelsmann Foundation.