Christoph HomuthElisabeth LiebauGisela Will

The role of socioeconomic, cultural, and structural factors in daycare attendance among refugee children


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Previous research has found that ethnic educational inequalities arise even before children enroll in primary school. It has been shown that especially for migrants, early participation in education has a positive impact on later educational outcomes, with the acquisition of the host-country language being one of the main mechanisms driving this effect. With the influx of over one million refugees into Germany in recent years, the integration of migrant children, especially refugee children, into the educational system is more salient in educational politics than ever. The first empirical findings on early and preschool education among refugees have shown that while a considerable share of refugee children attend a daycare center, they do so at lower rates than native and other migrant children. This paper aims to examine whether inequalities in the early education of refugee children can be explained by diff erent socioeconomic and migration-related factors known to be associated with inequality in daycare attendance and to explore whether additional refugee-specific factors aff ect the likelihood of enrollment in preschool education. With data from the IAB-BAMF-SOEP Survey of Refugees in Germany and the study Refugees in the German Educational System (ReGES), we show that conventional explanatory variables do affect refugee children’s attendance of daycare centers. In addition to children’s age, the employment status of the mother, and the length of stay in Germany are particularly important. However, we see regional differences in participation in preschool education that cannot be explained by the municipal childcare supply.

Refugees; Early education; Preschool education; Daycare; Social inequality