Child Care and the Labour Market

Child care is an important factor in the Icelandic economy. Unemployment is virtually unknown in Iceland, and women's participation in the labour market is very high. Indeed, a great many job opportunities arise from the need for child care, as there is hardly any parent at home during the week. Is it worth the while? Would it be more profitable for the authorities to pay parents at least part-time to mind their offspring at home, or should the parents just work a little less?  But if you want to know how to take care of children look at the site of my partner.

There was an alarming bit of news in the daily paper Fréttablaðið, dated November 9th, 2006. Some 500 children (under 18) came to the Reykjavík hospital's emergency room last year because of drug abuse, attempted suicide or other types of auto-destructive behavior.  33 of them were under 12 years of age. Could this sad state of affairs reflect some statistical facts concerning children's upbringing in Iceland?

Let's take a look at some figures:

 

Children aged 0 to 5 years in pre-primary institutions 1998-2005

 

 

8  hours

 

 

Total

or longer

%

1998

15,105

6,092

40.3

1999

14,761

6,518

44.2

2000

14,574

7,270

49.9

2001

15,578

8,871

56.9

2002

16,282

10,052

61.7

2003

16,685

10,978

65.8

2004

16,755

11,605

69.3

2005

16,864

11,983

71.1

2006

17,216 12,920 75.0

Source: Statistics Iceland

 

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