Childcare arrangements in the EU


© Tomsickova Tatyana /

In 2018, almost half of all children (49%) aged less than three years in the European Union (EU) were cared for exclusively by their parents. This share varied considerably across the EU Member States, from a low of 15% in Greece to a high of 82% in Slovakia.

The social distancing measures that have recently been introduced due to the coronavirus pandemic, have brought every day childcare to our homes; for many parents together with telework. However, how did childcare/childcare arrangements look like before these measures came into force?

When children are not cared for exclusively by their parents, they may receive formal childcare, or care that is provided by a professional child-minder, or be cared for by grandparents, other household members (excluding parents), other relatives, friends or neighbours. In 2018, one-fifth (20%) of children in this age group received 30 hours or more of formal childcare per week in the EU. 

Among the EU Member States, Denmark with more than half (55%) of children aged less than three years receiving at least 30 hours of formal childcare per week had the highest share,  followed by Portugal (49%), Slovenia (44%) and Luxembourg (43%)

At the other end of the scale, Slovakia had the lowest share of children aged less than three years that received at least 30 hours of formal childcare (1%), followed by Czechia (4%), Romania and the Netherlands (both 6%) and Austria (7%).


Child care arrangements_2018

Source dataset: ilc_caparents and ilc_caindformal


For more information, see the Statistics Explained article Living conditions in Europe - childcare arrangements.



  • Formal childcare is defined here as regulated childcare provided away from the child’s home.
  • The European Union (EU) includes 27 EU Member States. The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020. Further information is published here.


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