Daycare Fees: These Are The Costs You Will Have To Pay

You want to send your child to daycare soon, but you are not sure what costs you will have to pay? Whether and how much you have to pay depends on a number of factors. Here you can find out what the cost differences are in the individual federal states, how the Kita fees are made up, and what else you need to pay attention to.

Daycare fees in Germany vary greatly depending on the state, region, and city. In addition, income plays a major role in calculating the costs and whether it is a private or municipal daycare center. Here you will find all relevant information on this topic.

What Are The Daycare Fees Based On?

Kita fees vary greatly depending on the state, municipality and provider. The age of the child, the care time and the form of care are also decisive points in the amount of the fees. In general, the kindergarten fee for private kindergartens is higher than that for municipal kindergartens.

Municipal kindergartens are only financed by public funds, and the subsidies from the federal and local governments vary. Therefore, the place of residence also plays a decisive role in the amount of Kita fees.

Some municipalities try to base their contribution to childcare costs on the income of the parents. Income levels are set or are based on net or gross income.

Which Childcare Costs Are Incurred?

The Kita fees are divided into care and nursing costs:

  • Care costs are divided into basic care costs and additional care fees.
  • The basic care costs cover the care of a child during the regular opening hours of the kindergarten.
  • The additional care fees are due for particularly early or late care times if the parents work early or late and therefore have to use separate care times.
  • Meal fees cover a milk and beverage meal as well as participation in the kindergarten meal.

Supplementary Costs

For handicraft materials, particularly healthy food or special offers such as early musical education, the daycare center may charge additional costs. At this point, however, there are again large differences between the individual municipalities. A full lunch usually costs between 1.20 and 1.80 euros. The cost of meals is also subsidized in some cases.

What Income Is included In The Calculation Of Kita Fees?

As soon as you register your child in a kindergarten, the Youth Welfare Office requires proof of income to calculate the parental contribution. The following income is taken into account:

  • Income from non-self-employed work.
  • Income from self-employed or freelance work.
  • Income from renting, leasing and capital assets.
  • Maintenance payments received.
  • Pension.
  • Benefits under the German Employment Promotion Act including sick pay.
  • Vacation pay and Christmas bonus.
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Many cities base their tax rates heavily on the amount of income. In many cities, parents with incomes of 4,000 euros or more pay more than twice as much as families with low incomes.

As a rule, the gross income of the entire family from the last calendar year is used to calculate the Kita fees. However, if income changes in the current fee year, twelve times the last monthly income is used for the calculation.

After the financial close of the year, the Youth Welfare Office checks retroactively on the basis of the tax assessment notice whether the declared income also corresponded to the actual income. This is particularly important in the case of self-employed persons, as often only an estimate of the income can be given here. Therefore, in these cases, there are often additional payments or even repayments.

Differences Between The Federal States

As already mentioned, the daycare fees vary greatly. We will show you by means of some examples which regulations apply in the individual federal states and where you do not have to pay any fees at all.

However, individual fees for special services and meals can be added to both fee-based and free care.


In Baden-Württemberg, there are differences between the individual cities. In Heilbronn, for example, attendance from the age of three is free, while in Stuttgart, daycare fees must be paid. With an annual income of up to 70,000 euros, families there can obtain a Family Card, which allows them to pay fewer fees.


Bavaria also has different regulations. Munich provides a reduction only for municipal facilities, provided the income is less than 80,000 euros per year. Under a certain income limit, parents can also apply for the Bavarian daycare allowance: parental fees for children over the age of one are then subsidized by up to 100 euros per month.


Since August 1, 2018, daycare in Berlin has been tuition-free. Parents only pay for meals and for any extra services such as special sports activities or language lessons.


In Brandenburg, there are no fees for the last year of kindergarten. However, there are no uniform regulations for the care of younger children, and the kindergarten fee can vary from municipality to municipality.


In Bremen, care for three- to six-year-olds has been tuition-free for 8 hours a day since August 2019. For the care of younger children, there are several contribution levels based on income situation, household size, number of siblings in childcare that is subject to contributions, and the amount of care provided.

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In Hamburg, care for 5 hours a day, including lunch, is free of charge for parents. Those who use more extensive care pay a contribution that is graduated according to income level, family size and scope of care.


From the age of three, daycare in Hesse is free of charge for up to six hours a day. There are no binding state-wide requirements for the care of younger children. In Wiesbaden, for example, the fee depends on the number of hours and type of care.

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, no daycare fees have had to be paid since January. The state pays the full subsidy for daycare, kindergarten, after-school care, or daycare for children. Parents can place their children in a facility for up to 10 hours a day without incurring any costs.

Lower Saxony

In Lower Saxony, no daycare fees are charged for children over the age of three. This applies to care for up to eight hours a day. For children under the age of three, fees are generally staggered.

North Rhine-Westphalia

Daycare fees in North Rhine-Westphalia are not uniformly regulated and can vary greatly from region to region and city to city. In Cologne, for example, the fee is based on the age of the child, the parent’s income, and the number of hours per week. In Düsseldorf, too, the contribution is based on age, income, and number of hours per week. Children over the age of 3 are exempt from contributions.


In Rhineland-Palatinate, fees are completely waived from the child’s second birthday. Before that, fees are based on the guidelines of the facility, region or city.


Saarland leaves it up to individual facilities to decide whether and how much to pay in daycare fees. Fees there are very high everywhere. Low-income earners can apply to the responsible youth welfare office for a contribution waiver.


In Saxony, too, the parental contribution varies from region to region. However, it should not exceed 15 to 23 percent of the municipality’s average costs for a crèche place and 15 to 30 percent for a kindergarten place. The last year before school is tuition-free. In Leipzig, the parental contribution depends on the number of children and the duration of the childcare period. Various applications for reductions can be made.


Since 2019, siblings in Saxony-Anhalt are cared for free of charge. Parents only pay daycare fees for the oldest child. How much these fees depend on the facility, but parents can apply for a waiver or partial waiver.


Schleswig-Holstein wants to relieve parents with the Kita reform from January 2021. This will mean a maximum of 288 euros for eight hours of care for a child under the age of three. For children under three, a maximum of 226 euros. For a second child, only half will have to be paid. From the third child on, contributions are free. The parents’ income is irrelevant. Financially weaker families can apply for Kita-Geld. Recipients of social benefits are exempt from paying contributions.

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The last year of kindergarten is free of charge, regardless of the length of care. Before that, Thuringia leaves it up to the municipalities and cities to decide. In the state capital of Erfurt, the fee is based on the age of the child, the amount of care provided, the number of children, and the parent’s income.

Overview Of Kindergarten Fees

Baden-WürttembergStuttgart144 €**
Karlsruhe236 €**
Mannheim305 €**
BavariaNuremberg270 €
Augsburg253 €
Munich231 €
Berlin0 € (since 2018 kindergarten contribution abolished)
BrandenburgPotsdam135 €**
Bremen146 €**
Hamburg123 €*
HesseWiesbaden124 €**
Frankfurt158 €
Lower SaxonyHanover216 €*
NRWBielefeld275 €
Münster200 €
Dortmund161 €
Gelsenkirchen182 €
Wuppertal167 €
Duisburg202 €
Duesseldorf125 €
Mönchengladbach190 €
Cologne298 €
Bonn238 €
Rhineland-PalatinateMainz203 €***
SaarlandSaarbrücken258 €
SaxonyLeipzig164 €
Dresden168 €
Saxony-AnhaltMagdeburg168 €
Schleswig-HolsteinKiel280 €*
ThuringiaErfurt136 €**

based on an 18-month-old child net income used as a basis scope of care not available.

Source: Institute of the German Economy.

Will Daycare Fees Be Cheaper With Two Or More Children?

In some federal states, there is now a so-called sibling rule. Here, the Kita is then cheaper for the second and subsequent children, in some cases even free of charge. This regulation exists in:

  • Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (siblings do not have to pay fees)
  • Saxony-Anhalt (siblings do not have to pay)
  • Saarland (siblings pay less)

Even with two children and a household income of 2,000 euros, care remains free in Berlin, Düsseldorf, and Münster. In Hamburg, the cost increases only minimally by four euros to 16. While parents in Bonn, Essen, and Wuppertal pay the same price for two children as for one, the fee in Nuremberg increases by almost double (from 115 to 220 euros). In Bremen, the price for childcare for two children even drops by around two euros compared to just one child.

In principle, every city can introduce the sibling rule. So it is always worth asking again.

Does The Maintenance Claim Increase If The Parents Are Separated?

In 2018, there were around 2.6 million single parents in Germany (Federal Statistical Office). Most of them live separately from their partner and therefore share the upbringing of the children. If you live separately from your husband or wife, you are entitled to maintenance. However, the pure maintenance does not include the costs for the care of your child.

The maintenance claim must therefore be increased when your child is old enough for daycare. Your child must be cared for in the best possible way so that you yourself have time to go to work. It does not matter whether you take your child to a company kindergarten, to a municipal daycare center, or to a childminder. The entitlement to increased maintenance remains.

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The additional claim to maintenance is calculated according to the proportionate income. For example, if you pay 200 euros per month in daycare costs and earn 1,000 euros per month, while your ex-partner earns 2,000 euros, you have an additional claim to 2/3 of the 200 euros, i.e. 133.33 euros. The remaining 66,67 Euro you have to pay yourself.

As a recipient of maintenance, you can only claim the childcare costs as additional needs, but not the boarding costs. You have to pay these yourself.

Is It Possible To Receive A Subsidy?

If families cannot afford the daycare fees, they receive a subsidy in most cities. For this purpose, an application is submitted to the city’s youth welfare office, in which income and expenses must be disclosed. The salary limit varies from city to city.

In some federal states, parents receive a subsidy for daycare fees regardless of income For example, families residing in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania receive a subsidy of 50 euros per child, provided the child is cared for full-time. In Bavaria, families with children between the ages of 13 and 36 months receive the so-called Bavarian family allowance. This allowance is not directly related to the kindergarten contribution, but it can be used for this purpose.

Can The Kita Fees Be Deducted From Taxes?

Kita fees can be covered by the employer by paying the employee the kindergarten contribution or a subsidy tax-free. It does not matter whether the child is cared for in a company or noncompany facility. It is important that the payment is recorded in writing.

In addition, there is another option, because according to Section 10, Paragraph 1, No. 5. of the German Income Tax Act (EStG), parents can deduct the kindergarten contribution in their tax return. For this purpose, parents set off two-thirds of the kindergarten costs as special expenses, but no more than 4,000 euros per year per child is possible.

The employer can pay the full amount of the kindergarten fees, i.e. more than 4,000 euros per year per child, but only for children under the age of six.

Strictly speaking, it is not the kindergarten fees that are deducted in the tax return, but the childcare costs. There are also school children who need afternoon care. Families are therefore allowed to declare these special expenses as long as the child has not yet reached the age of 14.

Differences In Kita Fees

The Kita fees are very inconsistent. In some cases, the differences are enormous. In Berlin, families pay no fees at all, while in other parts of Germany the fees are over 200 euros a month. However, most parents are probably happy to have found a Kita place at all, because places are very scarce everywhere.

If you deal with the issue early enough, you may be able to save costs and also get a place for your child in time.

FAQ About Kita Fees


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