Istat presents for the first time the results of the Census of public and private units that provide socio-educational services for early childhood. The study fills an important information gap by integrating the annual production of statistics on this type of service with data related to the endowment of the structures both in the public sector and in the private sector.
In the 2013/2014 school year were observed about 13,459 units nationwide that offered socio-educational services for early childhood. 35% of units were public and 65% private. The available places, around 360 314, covered 22.4% of the potential catchment area, namely children under three years living in Italy.
In 2013 municipalities spent about 1 billion 559 million euro for socio-educational services for early childhood, 3% less than the previous year.
The amount collected by the municipalities as a co-payment by households remained almost unchanged between 2012 and 2013. Totally it amounted to about 310 million euro in the year. Over the decade 2003-2013 the share borne by households increased from 17.5% to 20% of the total expenditure managed by municipalities for nurseries.
Geographical differences in the proportion of children welcomed in services managed or funded by the public sector were still strong. In the Centre-north area of the country the available places in public and private structures covered 28.2% of children under three years, while in the South of Italy the available places covered 11.5% of resident children. Over 17% of children of the Centre-north area under three years were assisted in municipal services or funded by municipalities, less than 5% in the South and Islands area.
Also noteworthy are the differences in municipal expenditure in relation to the potential catchment area. Comparing the provincial capitals, the highest spending was registered in Trento, with 3,560 euro per resident child, followed by Bologna and Roma with more than 3,400 and with nearly 2,950 euro per capita; on the other side there were the municipalities of Reggio Calabria (31 euro per child), Vibo Valentia (57 euro), Catanzaro (67 euro). All data, including at individual municipality level, are available on I.Stat, the datawarehouse of Istat.