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Portrait Annika Elwert. Photo: Emma Lord.

Annika Elwert

Associate senior lecturer

Portrait Annika Elwert. Photo: Emma Lord.

The social care-taking of the city-kids. Determinants for day-care attendance in early twentieth-century southern Sweden


  • Annika Elwert
  • Luciana Quaranta

Summary, in English

The introduction of a child day-care system is one of the early welfare interventions targeted towards mothers and young children that over time gained great prominence in the Swedish welfare state. Because quantitative research on day-cares in historical settings is generally scarce, in this study, we focus on the determinants of day-care enrolment in southern Sweden during the early twentieth century. We use unique individual-level records of day-care attendance for children born between 1900 and 1935 which have been linked to longitudinal micro-level data for the city of Landskrona obtained from the Scanian Economic Demographic Database. Event-history techniques are employed to analyse the importance of factors such as household composition, parental socio-economic background, marital status of the mother, and mother’s occupation. Of the studied children, 8% were ever enrolled in day-cares, most of them around the ages 3 to 6. The results show that the mother’s marital status, household SES, number of siblings, the presence of other adult females in the household and mother’s occupation are all significant determinants of day-care attendance for children. In this study, we show that in the early twentieth century in southern Sweden, day-care attendance followed a negative SES gradient and was most common among children of single mothers.


  • Department of Economic History
  • Department of Sociology
  • Centre for Economic Demography

Publishing year







The History of the Family





Document type

Journal article


Taylor & Francis


  • Economic History


  • Day-care
  • Intitutionalized childcare
  • Sweden
  • 20th century
  • welfare interventions
  • single mothers
  • event history analysis




  • Landskrona Population Study
  • How welfare shapes our future: Policies targeted at young children and their -effects over the full life course – a case study of southern Sweden, 1920 to the present day, FORTE


  • ISSN: 1873-5398