In 2016, close to four out of 10 children (38.9%) aged 12 years or below in Belgium received formal child-care services, whether free or paying, the European Union (EU) statistical office, Eurostat, reported on Tuesday. This was just slightly more than the EU average, which was 38.8%.
Some 34% of the children paid full or reduced prices, while 4.2% received free child-care services, according to Eurostat, which noted that the main reason for not making use of these services – in 81% of cases – was the absence of a need to do so.
In eight EU Member States, more than half of all children aged 12 or below have received formal child-care services, with the highest rate, almost 86%, in Denmark. Other countries with high percentages of children attending formal child-care centres were Sweden (70%), the United Kingdom (65%), Germany (64%), Finland (59%), Austria and Luxemburg (58% each) and the Netherlands (56%).
The countries with the lowest percentages of children receiving formal child-care services were Lithuania (1%), Croatia (2%), Slovakia (3%), and Estonia and Spain (4% each).