Cyprus Mail

A third of children under three cared for only by parents

IN Cyprus, only 32 per cent of children under the age of three were cared for solely by their parents in 2014, one of the lowest percentages in Europe, according to a Eurostat report published on Friday.

Care only by the parents was the main childcare arrangement for under-threes in a majority of EU member states. There were, however, big differences between the member states. The highest share of under-threes cared for only by their parents was in Bulgaria with 73 per cent. The only countries which had lower percentages than Cyprus were the Netherlands (23 per cent), Portugal (27 per cent) and Denmark (30 per cent). At EU level, one in every two children aged under three was cared for only by his/her parents.

Families make use of different arrangements to care for their children under the age of three. Parents make use of day-care centres (formal childcare), childminders, grandparents, other household members, relatives, friends or neighbours (informal childcare) or a combination of formal and informal childcare.

In 2014, 26 per cent of Cypriot under-3s attended at least partial formal care, lower than the EU average of 28 per cent. Countries with the most formal childcare attendance in the EU were Denmark with 70 per cent and Sweden (56 per cent) in 2014.

Between 2000 and 2014, the number of children aged under three living in the EU remained almost stable at around 15 million, though masking discrepancies across member states. A majority recorded more under-3s in 2014 than in 2000, with the highest increase in Ireland (+34.5 per cent), and the most remarkable fall recorded in Romania (-21.5 per cent). In Cyprus, the number increased by 4.6 per cent. However, there is no linear growth, but the number fluctuates over the years.

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