EU - Generous Childcare Benefits

Arno Froese

Rich countries contribute an average of $14,000 per year for a toddler’s care, compared with $500 in the U.S. 

Typical 2-year-olds in Denmark attend child care during the day, where they are guaranteed a spot, and their parents pay no more than 25 percent of the cost. That guaranteed spot will remain until the children are in after-school care at age 10. If their parents choose to stay home or hire a nanny, the government helps pay for that, too.

The U.S. spends 0.2 percent of its G.D.P. on child care for children 2 and under—which amounts to about $200 a year for most families, in the form of a once-a-year tax credit for parents who pay for care.

The other wealthy countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development spend an average of 0.7 percent of G.D.P. on toddlers, mainly through heavily subsidized child care. Denmark, for example, spends $23,140 annually per child on care for children 2 and under.

Among the 38 nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States is second only to Luxembourg on education spending for elementary school through college. But Americans have long had mixed feelings about whether young children should stay home with family or go to child care.

Some states and cities offer public preschool, starting at age 3 or 4. But just seven states (and the District of Columbia) serve more than half of 4-year-olds, and 14 states have no public preschool or serve less than 10 percent of children, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research.

The situation is much different in many rich countries. In Europe, new parents have paid leaves of 14 months, on average, and it’s common for children to start public school at age 3. (In the preschool years, the focus in on play—toddlers aren’t sitting at desks doing worksheets.)

In Germany, children can attend forms of “kita” from early months through elementary school. In some places, parents pay tuition based on their income, and in others, including Berlin and Hamburg, it is free. In France, parents of babies and toddlers receive tax credits of up to 85 percent of the cost of attending child care centers called crèches or hiring home-based “childminders,” before public preschool begins at age 2 or 3., 6 October 2021

Arno's Commentary

Why, we may ask, are these European countries so supportive of family? One of the often-quoted reasons is the decline in the birth rate. In other words, a few decades down the road, governments will lack the tax base to pay the generous retirement benefits for the aged. However, that may be overcome by other means such as utilizing robots and artificial intelligence.

In several instances, we have called attention to the population decline in super-rich countries. It is our understanding that this will contribute to the increase of imported labor from other countries—thus molding an even stronger global connection, which ultimately will lead to a one-world society.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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