New MIFARE Publication on Migrants’ and Natives’ Attitudes to Formal Childcare in the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany

Verena Seibel
MIFARE Troels Fage Hedegaard
Troels Fage Hedegaard

A new Children and Youth Services Review article by Verena Seibel and Troels Fage Hedegaard (MIFARE) sheds light on attitudes of migrants and natives on formal childcare in the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany. Project MIFARE is among the first to focus on migrants’ attitudes towards the welfare state, while the field of research on welfare state attitudes in Europe has ignored the perspective of migrants almost completely. MIFARE aims to explain differences across migrant groups as well as differences of migrants’ welfare state attitudes compared to the overall public opinion in the country of origin and the host country.

To achieve this comparison, the article draws on unique data from the projects’ cross-national survey “Migrants’ Welfare State Attitudes” among natives and migrants who had migrated to the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany from nine countries of origin: Spain, Poland, Great Britain, United States, Turkey, Russia, Philippines, Japan and China.

Thereby, the authors aim to add to the numerous studies on attitudes towards childcare which have emerged in the wake of massive EU championed investment in childcare across Europe. The studies have, however, only focused on general populations, and therefore, next to nothing is known about what migrants themselves think about childcare services. The social investment strategy of the EU has, among other things, focused on expanding formal childcare to improve female participation in the labor market and to include children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The strategy has received a lot of positive public response, but the success of it hinges on support from the groups it targets, which includes migrants.

The results show that differences in support for the government’s responsibility for providing and funding childcare do exist, and that these differences largely can be attributed to socialization effects. Attitudes to formal childcare in the country of origin explain most of the attitude gaps between migrants and natives. The study found for the Netherlands and Denmark that migrants are less in favor of formal childcare than natives, though at the same time they ask for more public childcare spending and are more satisfied with the formal childcare provided than the native population. Results for Germany were more mixed.

To access the article, go to