Since 2016, the DJI Childcare Study (KiBS) has been researching the care of children in Germany on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women, and Youth (BMFSFJ). This project continues a long tradition at the DJI in the research of childcare.

KiBS is focusing on children of different age groups. In the first two waves of KiBS (2016 and 2017), parents of children of four age groups were interviewed: Children under three years of age (U3), children from three years to school enrolment (U6), children in primary school age and children in lower secondary under the age of 15 years. Since 2018, the age range of the children has been restricted up to the end of primary education, i.e. the end of the fourth grade in most of the federal states and the end of the sixth grade in Berlin and Brandenburg.

This annual parent survey, which is representative for the federal states, is the largest of its kind in Germany in the focused age range. Approx. 33,000 parents are interviewed each year. KiBS has developed into an up-to-date, reliable and flexible tool for monitoring the situation of child daycare in Germany from the parents’ perspective.

With the help of the KiBS data, indicator-based reports on the development of parental needs and the care arrangements used are presented regularly (e.g. the brochure “Kindertagesbetreuung Kompakt” published by the BMFSFJ, which compares parental needs with the actual take-up rate for childcare in official statistics). In addition, KiBS data are incorporated into other regular and one-time reporting formats (such as the Education Report or the Child and Youth Migration Report). The annual KiBS survey not only collects the data for the core indicators to be reported in the trend comparison, but also sets changing thematic focuses or makes additions to the content of the study, depending on the current situation or social discourse.

The project’s main publication is the annual DJI Childcare Report (“DJI-Kinderbetreuungsreport”, to be found in the “Results” tab or under “Publications” on the right).

Topics examined include the following from the parents' perspective:

  • The current childcare situation, including informal care arrangements
  • The childcare demands (scope, times, desired forms of care)
  • Existing gaps in childcare
  • Satisfaction with the offers used
  • The implementation of quality characteristics of the care used
  • The reasons for nonuse of child daycare
  • Difficulties with the organization of childcare
  • Reconciliation of family and work
  • Regional disparities
  • Determinants of childcare demand and use of child daycare
  • Examining the impact of measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic on childcare

Target and sample population

The aim of KiBS is to report on parental childcare demands and the childcare situation of children up to the end of primary school age on a nationwide basis and for all federal states. The target population of KiBS are therefore children from birth up to the end of primary school; the informant is a parent. For most of the federal states, this definition of population means that children under age eleven are included (nationwide there are approx. 8 million children of this age).

To achieve a nationally as well as federal-state-specific representative sample, KiBS is based on a random selection of children in the target age range. There is a two-step procedure for achieving this random selection. In the first step, 400 municipalities are randomly selected from the list of cities and towns in Germany. Then, in a second step, children with primary residence in the respective municipality are randomly drawn from the population registers of these municipalities. Children who were not included in the population register are not part of the sample population. This group is usually very small in Germany.

Theoretically, this approach allows for true random selection of children in the target age range. In reality, however, practical obstacles exist that lead to slight biases in random selection. For various reasons (details can be found in Study 8 of the DJI Child Care Report 2020), somewhat lower drawing probabilities occur for certain groups of children. KiBS de facto draws a sample from the population registers of children aged three months to ten years.


Operational sample

To enable KiBS to reflect the great diversity of different care constellations throughout Germany, families in 400 municipalities are included in the survey. For this purpose, a total of 330 municipalities were randomly selected in the 2016 KiBS wave after creating a federal-state-stratum. In 2018, the sample was increased by additional 70 municipalities, which were randomly drawn from all municipalities with less than 20,000 inhabitants in the three largest German states in terms of area (Lower Saxony, Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg). This was primarily intended to ensure better coverage of rural regions.

In these municipalities, a random selection of persons was made for the survey in a second step. For each federal state, parents of 800 children under age three were to be interviewed, as well as parents of 500 children aged three to under six and 750 children aged six to under eleven. Only in Berlin and Brandenburg, the latter group was extended to include under-twelve-year-olds, since in these states elementary school is extended to six years. Thus, a total of ((500 + 750 + 800) * 16 = ) 32,800 parents were to be interviewed about the care of their children. This sample is composed of two parts, a panel and a refreshment part (details can be found in Study 8 of the DJI Childcare Report 2020). Since the 2021 survey wave, the case numbers have had a different composition. Details can be found on the page under the tab "Concept and methodological approach".

You can find more of our own publications based on our annual, federal-state-representative parent survey on the right side of this page under the "Publications" link.

In order to make the results available more quickly and the individual topics more easily accessible, the DJI Childcare Report changes its format with the 2020 edition and appears as a series of thematically focused individual documents.


DJI Childcare Report


Child daycare compact (Kindertagesbetreuung Kompakt)

Other publications:

Interactive maps: frü

Reports of the KiföG evaluation with results of the parent survey and the KiföG federal-state-study

For many years, the DJI –supported by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) - has been studying childcare. As early as 2004-2005, the DJI described the childcare situation of families with children before their school enrolment based on the DJI Childcare Study 2005, the first nationwide survey of parents on this topic. In order to increase social equality of opportunities, to promote children as early as possible and to support parents in balancing family and work, the Child Promotion Act (KiföG) was passed in 2008, which established a general legal entitlement to a place in daycare for one and two-year-old children from August 2013. The parent survey, which was designed as a supplementary survey to AID:A, and the KiföG federal-state survey were part of the KiföG evaluation, which took place between 2009 and 2015. In this context, the DJI accompanied the expansion of daycare for children under three years of age (U3) by depicting the parents' perspective with the help of annual surveys and, among other things, by surveying parental care demands, on which helped the nationwide expansion was also based.

Since 2016, the project has been operating under the name DJI Childcare Study (KiBS) and thus directly follows on the KiföG monitoring conducted up to that point. KiBS focuses on several age groups: in addition to U3 children, children between the ages of three and school entry (U6) as well as primary school children (GS). In 2016 and 2017, the age range was even broader: additionally parents of children attending lower secondary school and aged up to 15 years were interviewed. The focus of the reporting is the parental care demand for their children. This enables a demand-oriented estimation of the space expansion that will continue to be necessary, i.e., the demand side. It varies widely across different regions, time, and parent groups, so that regular, accurate monitoring is needed in order to be able to steer expansion efforts in a targeted manner.

If you are interested in using the KiBS data, please contact the Research Data Center.

In mid-March 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an area-wide closure of almost all childcare facilities that lasted for many weeks. For the most part, parents were entirely responsible for the care of their children during this time. Since the summer, the children were gradually returned to institutional care. The so-called - restricted or complete - regular operation under pandemic conditions applies, combined with a reduced reliability of the care offered, since suspected cases or confirmed Corona infections can immediately lead to the exclusion of children from care or to the complete closure of individual groups or even the entire facility at any time. The normal condition that KiBS usually surveys has been almost completely suspended. This is impressively demonstrated by initial evaluations of the KiBS data from 2020.

The Corona-KiTa-Study starts exactly here and will conduct repeated online surveys over the next months in order to be able to depict the organization of childcare during this extraordinary time and to expand our knowledge on this important topic. Likewise, the study explores the development of the living situation and the management of everyday life of families with non-school-age children under pandemic conditions, as well as preventive measures. For more information on the Corona-KiTa-Study, click here:

First results on aspects of child daycare can be found here and on the mood impressions of families with children here.

For questions, comments or suggestions, please contact


+49 89 62306-322
Deutsches Jugendinstitut
Nockherstr. 2
81541 Munich
Martina Speier
+49 89 62306-233