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Ylenia Brilli, Nevena Kulic and Moris Triventi

This chapter focuses on socio-economic determinants of the use of formal childcare for children below 24 months old in Italy. Beyond looking at the overall relationship between family social position and childcare arrangements, the chapter also investigates the variation in childcare use over time, and across the Italian territory. We rely on the data from three waves of the Italian Survey of Births for 2002, 2005, and 2012. The chapter concludes that there is an important socio-economic inequality in the use of early infant care in Italy: both mother’s education and father’s occupation have a bearing on the use of childcare, although mother’s education appears to be more relevant. Also, there is a growth of socio-economic differences in participation in the formal infant care over time, which is particularly evident in the Northern regions in comparison to the South. The expansion of mostly private formal childcare supply from 2002 to 2012, which took place particularly in the North of the country, is offered as a tentative explanation for these trends.