In 2013, the number of children attending day care centres has fallen for the second year in a row. On 31 December 2011, 322 thousand 0 to 3-year-old children attended day care centres versus 284 thousand at the end of 2013, i.e. a reduction by 11 percent.
Decrease after years of increase
Over the period 2008-2011, the number of children in day care had risen substantially. The reduced number of births in recent years partly accounts for the decline after 2011, but the number of young children attending day care centres has also diminished: from 44 percent in 2011 to 39 percent in 2013.
Higher parental contribution
In recent years, regulations with respect to child care allowances were changed. The number of hours that could be claimed for a refund was limited and the parental contribution was raised. On average, 81 percent of the costs of childcare were covered by the child care allowance in 2008 versus 63 percent in 2013. The parental contribution has almost doubled.
Apart from higher costs, the poor situation on the labour market may also have affected the reduced number of children in day care.
Share of child care costs covered by the child care allowance
Number of day care facilities marginally down
The number of day care facilities was reduced for the first time in 2013, by more than 50. During the period 2009-2012, 2.4 thousand new day care facilities were opened. Altogether, there were 6.2 thousand day care facilities last year. On average, parents had 15 day care centres to choose from within a radius of 3 kilometres from their homes. The average distance to the nearest day care facility was approximately 900 metres.
Number of day care facilities and average distance to the nearest facility
Hans Visser and Bart Huynen