This research project looks at formal extrafamilial care for preschool children in day care facilities and home day care. These child care services outside the home are becoming increasingly important in Switzerland.
Efficient, demand-oriented strategies for increasing the supply of child care services must be based on the trend of child care demand of parents. However, the required information base is largely lacking in Switzerland: To date there has been no systematic examination of the demand for or availability of extrafamilial child care. The research project is helping to remedy the research gap in preschool child care. The results will build the information base for demand-oriented planning of extrafamilial child care in Switzerland. They illustrate where expansion potential is to be found and how child care services have to be defined in order to comply with parental needs.
The research project provides answers to the following questions:
What socio-economic, demographic, regional and supply-specific factors play which role in the choice of mode of child care?
How big is the present demand potential for child care in day care facilities and home day care in the different regions of Switzerland?
What future developments can be expected in view of the behaviour patterns analysed and the demographic scenarios, in particular the trend in numbers of preschool children?
A choice experiment was made with the help of a survey of 600 families with children between the age of 0 and 4 years regarding the potential choice of a certain type of child care. An additional survey was conducted with 150 non-Swiss families. Key social, demographic or regional factors influencing the demand for child care services outside the home were identified using an econometric model. These results were combined with data for the family structure of Switzerland in order to estimate regional demand potentials.
Influencing factors of the demand for extrafamilial care:
Several socio-economic and demographic criteria of households proved to be significant for the choice of child care. Income and age of the mother may have a positive effect on choosing formal extrafamilial care. The existence of older siblings and the possibility of child care through one parent have a negative effect on demand. Additional relevant influence factors are higher education of the mother as well as working hours of the father and the actual care situation.
It has a positive effect on demand for formal extrafamilial care if one parent is of foreign nationality. The additional survey of foreign families shows that there is no significant difference between Italian, Portuguese and Swiss families. A significantly positive influence on the choice of formal extrafamilial care could only be noted with families of eastern European descent.
Regional variables such as urbanity and language region are also significant factors in the choice of child care mode. The fact that a family lives in a rural area has a negative effect on demand for day care facilities or home day care. Though families domiciled in the Latin part of Switzerland have a greater demand for formal extrafamilial child care.
The definition of child care services is an influential factor on the demand behaviour of parents. Relevant child care criteria are price, distance to place of residence, care ratio (number of children per child minder), opening hours and the flexibility with regard to adapting care hours. Econometric estimations show that with a mark-up of 10% the demand for day care facilities will be reduced by approximately 12%.
Estimation of current demand potentials:
We estimate that about 47% of all households in Switzerland would ask for extrafamilial day care centers or home care in case of free choice of the type of care and with the present service offers (price, opening hours, etc.). In all regions the demand for care in day care facilities is higher than for home care. 31% of families with preschool children would choose day care facilities in comparison to a purely private solution. 16% would prefer home care in comparison to private care.
In the year 2004 we estimate that about 84’000 care places for 168’000 preschool children will be in demand. The requested care period is 2 days per week. In the simulation model we assumed that about 2 children would be cared for per available place.
Based on SAKE data we assume that Switzerland at present disposes of about 30’000 care places for preschool children. In these places approximately 50’000 children are being looked after. Compared to the estimated demand potential this means that care facilities for approximately 120,000 children resp. approximately 50,000 care places are lacking. The exiting services cover only just about 40% of the estimated demand potential.
Estimation of future demand potentials:
If you leave supply (prices, quality) alone and go along with a trend scenario of demographic development, in 2015 demand for child care will be slightly lower than today. In two additional scenarios the significant influence of supply variables on demand could be shown. Consistent subsidization of day care facilities would increase demand significantly. Mark-ups of prices and also deterioration of quality though will rapidly effect demand.
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Krippen und Tagesfamilien in der Schweiz - Aktuelle und zukünftige Nachfragepotentiale
Plus des informations
Stern, S., Banfi, S., Tassinari, S. (2006), Krippen und Tagesfamilien in der Schweiz. Aktuelle und zukünftige Nachfragepotentiale, Bern: Haupt.