One third of Dutch parents struggle to pay for childcare

Almost one third (32%) of parents struggle to pay for childcare in the Netherlands, according to Utrecht University sociologists Verena Seibel and Mara Yerkes in their report On the Road to a New Childcare System?. Seibel: ‘Parents without a migration background and more highly educated parents find it easier to pay for childcare than parents with a migration background and a lower level of education.’

peuter met getallen

The UU sociologists administered a survey to 751 parents in July 2021 as part of their study. One of the statements included in the survey was: I can barely afford childcare these days. Seibel: ‘A relatively large group of parents, 32%, agreed somewhat or completely with this statement.’ Respondents agreeing with this statement included more parents with a lower level of education than those with a higher level. Yerkes: ‘The higher the education level, the greater the chance that parents disagreed with the statement that formal childcare was barely affordable. That means that in the current situation, a large group of parents may see childcare as being financially out of reach – which can lead to inequality.’

Difficult application procedure

Seibel and Yerkes also asked the parents about the difficulty experienced in applying for the childcare allowance. Dutch childcare allowances are currently a topic of serious debate following false allegations of fraud by the Dutch Tax Office among thousands of families. The researchers found that one quarter (25%) of parents felt the application procedure was complicated. This was particularly true for parents with a medium to high level of education (upper secondary vocational education or above). By comparison, parents who had attended pre-vocational secondary education or below struggled the least with the application procedure.

To find out more about parents’ childcare experiences, please consult the report On the Road to a New Childcare System?.

For their research, the UU sociologists made use of the Longitudinal Internet Studies for the Social Sciences (LISS) Panel, a representative online survey panel.