Since 2016, childcare has been examined as part of the DJI Childcare Study (KiBS) - funded by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ). The project thus continues a tradition of the German Youth Institute, as the DJI has been working on this topic for a long time.

KiBS focuses on children of different age groups. In the first two KiBS surveys (2016 and 2017), parents of children from four age groups (U3 children, U6 children, primary school children and lower secondary school children up to the age of 15) were surveyed. From 2018, the age range was restricted to children up to the end of primary school, i.e. up to the end of fourth grade in most federal states and up to the end of sixth grade in Berlin and Brandenburg. The annual state-representative parent survey is the largest of its kind in Germany in the focused age range. Around 33,000 parents are surveyed each year. KiBS has developed into an up-to-date, reliable and flexible instrument for monitoring the situation of childcare in Germany from the parents' perspective.

The KiBS data is used to present regular indicator-based reports on the development of parental needs and the childcare arrangements used (e.g. the brochure "Kindertagesbetreuung Kompakt" published by the BMFSFJ, which compares parental needs with the take-up rate in official statistics). The KiBS data is also included in other regular and one-off 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 focuses on changing topics or supplements the content of the study, depending on the current situation or social discourse.

The most important publication of the project 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 childcare arrangements
  • Childcare needs (scope, times, desired forms of childcare)
  • Existing gaps in childcare
  • Satisfaction with the services used
  • The implementation of quality features of the care used
  • The reasons for not using childcare
  • Reliability of the childcare
  • The compatibility of family and work
  • Regional disparities
  • Inequalities in the use and need for childcare services
  • Examining the childcare situation during the COVID-19 pandemic

Target and sample population

The aim of KiBS is to report nationwide and for all federal states on parental childcare needs and the childcare situation of children from birth up to the end of primary school age (up to and including ten years). These children are therefore the target population of KiBS; nationwide there are around 8 million children of this age; one parent provides the information.

In order to achieve a nationally and state-specific representative sample, KiBS is based on a random selection of children in the target age range. The procedure for achieving this random selection is two-stage. In a first step, 428 municipalities are randomly selected from the list of municipalities in Germany. Then, in a second step, children with their primary residence in the respective municipality are randomly drawn from the population registers of these municipalities. Children who are not recorded in the population register are not part of the sample population. This group is usually very small in Germany.

In theory, this procedure allows a true random selection of children in the target age range. In reality, however, there are practical obstacles that lead to slight distortions in the random selection. For various reasons, there are slightly lower sampling probabilities for certain groups of children. KiBS draws a de facto sample from the population registers of children aged between three months and ten years.


Operational sample

Families in 428 municipalities are included in the survey so that KiBS can reflect the great diversity of different childcare constellations throughout Germany. These were selected at random, taking care to include municipalities of different sizes.

In a second step, a random selection of people was made for the survey in these municipalities. The parents of at least 100 children per federal state and age group were to be surveyed. As larger federal states were more strongly represented than smaller ones, the total number of parents surveyed was to be 33,000. This sample is made up of two parts, a panel part and a refresher part (details can be found in Study 7 of the DJI Childcare Report 2023). Details can also be found on the website under the tab "Design and methodological approach".

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


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