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Rising cost of child care sparks debate in the Netherlands

The number of parents receiving child care allowances and spening in child care in the Netherlands increased from 2007 to 2011, but the average amount parents received decreased during that time period, according to new reports on child care costs and financing child care from Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

From 2007 to 2011, spending on child care in the Netherlands rose from 2,3 billion to 3,9 billion euros. The Dutch government and employers paid for most of this, but the contribution by parents is increasing.

In 2011, the average annual cost of child care per parent was 7.300 euros. To offset this cost, 537.000 parents received child care allowances in 2011, compared to 375.000 in 2007.

The average amount parents received decreased from 5.600 euros in 2007 to 5.300 in 2011, while the percentage of the total cost that parents paid rose from an average of 23% in 2007 to 27% in 2011.

The percentage that parents contribute towards child care depends on their income. In 2011 it ranged from 11% for households with a disposable income of 20.000 euros or less, to about 45% for households with a disposable income of 75.000 euros or more.

Interestingly, the change in percentage of parental contribution from 2010 to 2011 increased the least among the wealthiest households relatively speaking (43% vs 45%), but nearly doubled among households with disposable incomes of 30.000 euros or less (~7% vs ~12%).

Households with a disposable income of 75.000 euros or more spent the most on average on child care, with an average annual cost of over 9.200 euros. In spite of their higher incomes, they still received nearly 5.100 euros in child care allowance.

Who should pay?
When surveyed by CBS in 2012, almost:
 40% of adults said that child care should mostly be financed by parents themselves
 32% said the costs should be shared between parents, the government and employers
 18% said it should it mostly be paid for by the government
 11% said it should it mostly be paid for by employers

Perhaps unsurprisingly, those with no young children were least likely to say that child care should be financed primarily by the government and most likely to say it should be financed primarily by parents, while those with children in child care were most likely to say that child care should be financed mostly by the government.

Carly

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Carly Blair

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