Non-German children less likely to find Kita space, study reveals

Non-German children less likely to find Kita space, study reveals

Staff shortages mean that spaces in childcare facilities are getting even harder to come by in Germany. Now, a new study by the Federal Institute for Population has revealed that non-German and poorer children are even more disadvantaged when looking for open spots in preschool.

Non-German and poorer children disadvantaged in Kita search

Children in Germany are legally entitled to a free space at a state-run childcare facility before they are old enough to start school. This has been the case for 10 years, since the German government introduced the current policy. However, according to a new study by the Federal Institute for Population (BiB), children from non-German or poorer families are less likely to get a spot when they need it.

The BiB study considered the experiences of 96.000 children in Germany aged three years or younger. According to the data, in 2020, 35 percent of children aged three or younger had a spot at a Kita, compared to just 24 percent of children who come from non-German speaking households, and 23 percent of those who come from economically disadvantaged families.

In the same year, 14 percent of parents and carers in Germany were looking for a Kita place for their children but could not find one. Among poorer families, this figure rose to 17 percent, and for families who didn’t speak German at home - a group which makes up 5 percent of the federal republic’s total population - 28 percent of caregivers couldn’t find a Kita spot for their children.

BiB calls on German government to offer more Kita spaces

In response to the study’s findings, the BiB is calling on the German government to address the national shortage of state-run childcare services. If something is not done children from migrant backgrounds, who make up 5,7 percent of the German population, will likely have their early education disrupted and will suffer the consequences later, the institute said.

Another study was conducted by the BiB at the beginning of 2023, which found similarly worrying results about children’s school performance being linked to their citizenship status at birth. The BiB study found that children who were not granted German citizenship at birth go on to be disadvantaged in the German school system.

Following the results of the most recent survey, the BiB is demanding that the German government push the nationwide problem of Kita inequality to the top of the agenda at the upcoming education summit on March 14 and 15.

Thumb image credit: rvdw images /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

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