How do parents organise childcare in the EU? - Products Eurostat News

null How do parents organise childcare in the EU?


© George Rudy /

In 2019, nearly half (47.1%) of all the children aged less than three years in the EU were cared for exclusively by their parents, while 35.3% were in formal care for at least one hour per week and a quarter were cared for by their grandparents, other relatives or professional childminders for at least one hour per week.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought changes to childcare arrangements in 2020 - how was care for small children in the EU organised before social distancing and closing of care facilities?

The share of children under three years of age cared for by only their parents varied considerably across the EU Member States, from a low of 21.2% in the Netherlands and 22.6% in Portugal, up to over 60.0% in Croatia (60.8%), Slovakia (61.2%) and Latvia (63.8%), reaching its peak of 69.9% in Bulgaria.

Childcare arrangements in EU and EFTA countries, 2019 data, barchart (children under the age of 3, cared for exclusively by their parents, in formal care or in other type of care)​​​​​​​

Source datasets: ilc_caparents, ilc_caindformal and ilc_caindother

Over a third of children under age of three in formal childcare

When children are not cared for exclusively by their parents, they may receive formal childcare, including school-based care as part of compulsory education.

About one third of children (35.3%) in the EU were enrolled in formal childcare for at least one hour per week with 21.5% in formal care for more than 30h per week and 13.8% for less than 30h per week.

Among the EU Member States, Denmark with two-thirds (66.0%) of children receiving at least an hour of formal childcare per week had the highest share, followed by the Netherlands (64.8%), Luxembourg (60.0%) and Spain (57.4%).

At the other end of the scale, Czechia had the lowest share (6.3%), followed by Slovakia (6.6%), Poland (10.2%), Romania (14.1%) and Croatia (15.7%).

A quarter of children in other types of care

Other types of childcare include care by a professional childminder or by grandparents, other household members (excluding parents), other relatives, friends or neighbours. Just over 7% of children under the age of three in the EU were in this type of care for a minimum of 30 hours per week and an additional 18.7% of children for less than 30h per week, for a total of 25.9%.

Map of Europe showing which type of childcare prevails in each EU and EFTA country, 2019 data for children under 3 years of age​​​​​​​


Source dataset: ilc_caparents, ilc_caindformal and ilc_caindother

For more information:

To contact us, please visit our User Support page.

For press queries, please contact our Media Support.