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Childcare in the UK - Statistics & Facts

There were approximately 3.78 million children younger than five years old in the United Kingdom in 2020, which was around 5.6 percent of the population in that year. Among regions of the UK, London had both the highest population of young children in the population at 595.8 thousand, and also the highest proportion at 6.6 percent. During the same year there were slightly more males aged 0-4 than females, while the most common single year of age were four-year-olds, of which there were 807.5 thousand.

Childcare costs and availability

The cost of childcare in the United Kingdom varies quite significantly depending on the type of care and by the age of the child being looked after. As of 2021, the average weekly cost of 25 hours of nursery care in Great Britain amounted to 137 British pounds a week for under twos, almost 133 pounds for two-year-olds, and in England around 52 pounds a week for three to four-year olds. Full-time care, measured as being 50 hours a week, obviously cost more, ranging from 263 pounds a week for under twos in Great Britain, to almost 92 pounds for three to four-year olds in England. Childcare in Inner London was a lot more expensive than the rest of the country, with a part-time nursey place for under twos having a weekly cost of almost 180 pounds a week, compared with 115 pounds in Wales.

Education providers and workforce

In 2021, there were approximately 72 thousand registered early years childcare providers in England, providing approximately 1.3 million childcare places. There has been a steady decline in the number of early years education providers in England, with approximately 17 thousand fewer providers in 2020 that there were in 2015 when there were over 89 thousand. The most common type of childcare or education providers were childminers, with 34 thousand of them in 2020, compared with 27 thousand non-domestic childcare providers. In terms of workforce, there were around 802 thousand people working in childcare professions in the UK in 2021. The most common type of profession was teaching assistants, at 317 thousand.


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