Majority of parents with toddlers in Germany 'need a childcare place'

DPA/The Local
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Majority of parents with toddlers in Germany 'need a childcare place'
Children play a colouring game at a German Kita. Eastern childcare workers are currently responsible for an average number of children that it much higher than their western counterparts. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Jens Büttner

Around half of parents in Germany with children under the age of three are unable to find a Kita place or other childcare, a new study has revealed.


According to the survey commissioned by the Ministry of Family Affairs, a large proportion of parents with young children are struggling with the dearth of childcare options in the country.

In the data released on Thursday and seen by DPA, 49.1 percent of parents said they were in need of additional childcare for their under 3-year-olds. Among this age group, just over a third - or 35.5 percent - currently had some form of childcare.

According to the study, the number of parents who wanted a childcare place varied depending on the age of the children: the older the child, the more often parents expressed a need for childcare.

READ ALSO: How much does childcare cost across Germany?

For example, 64.9 percent of parents of one-year-old children and 80.7 percent of parents of two-year-old children said they wanted a childcare spot in 2022.

Compared to the previous year, 5.3 percent more parents of one-year-olds and 3.5 percentage points more parents of two-year-olds expressed a need for childcare.

Childcare gap

Over the age of three, however, almost all children were being cared for in a nursery of primary school.

"Practically every child from the age of three until school entry is cared for in a Kita: nationwide it is 92 percent and for children under three it is 35.5 percent," Family Minister Lisa Paus told DPA.

"However, it is also true that there is still a childcare gap, both in the daycare centres and in the primary schools."

In terms of the childcare provision in Germany, there are significant regional differences, Paus confirmed. In highly populated areas of western Germany, such as North Rhine-Westphalia, the gap between annual births and Kita spots is much wider than in the eastern states. 

READ ALSO: Germany to be short of 384,000 Kita places 'by 2023'


Paus also reaffirmed a commitment to offering full-day care in schools - a pledge that the government had made in 2021. 

The childcare gap demonstrates why the legal right to an all-day primary school place is so important, the Greens politician said. "That is the next priority," she added.

Most children in Germany have just half a day of school during the week, but following an agreement of the state and federal governments, a legal entitlement to a full-day school place will be introduced in phases by 2026.

The percentage of children in children is calculated based on the share of children cared for in nursery schools or in other publicly funded day-care (for example, a publicly funded care place with a childminder).

For their survey, the Ministry of Family Affairs interviewed 35,000 parents with children aged 10 or under in 2022. 

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about parental leave in Germany


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