Countries for raising a family

Moving anywhere, and particularly abroad, can be exciting and terrifying for children. They are leaving familiar surroundings, friends, schools, neighborhoods…but the amazing exposure to new cultures and experiences means children benefit from moving internationally.

Moreover, children living abroad and learning new languages often develop skills that make them far more adaptable and uniquely qualified for leadership roles.

Here are the top 10 countries to raise a family based on quality of education, social benefits, safety, nature, social tolerance, health services, childcare services, and quality of life. Other factors such a cost of living have also been taken into consideration.

1.      Sweden

Sweden has a strong social policy and is ranked first in childcare and overall cost of children. It is considered the best country to raise children. Parents are entitled to 480 days of paid parental leave, 60 of which are reserved for the father. The government also provides a monthly allowance to parents per child and gives adults the right to reduce their working hours until their children turn eight. Health care and college education are free, and its people boast one of the longest life expectancies in the world.

2.      Denmark

The parental leave system in Denmark is rated as among the most generous and flexible in the EU. Both mothers and fathers are entitled to 23 weeks of parental leave, and mothers are entitled to four weeks of maternity leave before the expected due date. Denmark employs a universal health care system in which citizens receive mostly free medical care. Higher education is also free.

3.      Australia

Moving to Australia will get you to one of the countries considered among those best suited for raising children. The country pays great attention to health, integration and overall quality of life. Australia offers financial support for up to 18 weeks to help eligible parents take time off work to care for a newborn or recently adopted child.

Australia has a high rate of participation in sporting activities and boasts a comparatively high life expectancy for both females and males. Australians remain particularly concerned about environmental issues, according to survey and government data.

4.      Netherlands

In the Netherlands, children have a good environment for their growth. This is especially so in education and childcare quality, where Netherlands is ranked 3rd and 4th.

Every mother is entitled to a maternity nurse, known as a “Kraamzorg”, with part or all of the cost covered by insurance. The Netherlands boasts a tolerant society, with liberal approaches to many social issues.

5.      Austria

The Austrian social system ensures a lot of support for parents. Working parents can swap staying at home for a fully-paid two-year parental leave. Additionally, all families receive “kindergeld” a monthly stipend for childcare expenses until the child turns 18. Kindergarten, like many private learning institutions, is subsidized by the government.

The country’s many international schools, attended mainly by the children of diplomats, makes it easier for expat children to adjust to a familiar, albeit diverse, community. Older children, attending accredited German, British, French and American schools can transfer credits to universities abroad.

6.      New Zealand

Moving your family to New Zealand means you’ll be going to one of the best place to raise children. The country’s focus on raising healthy children and an effective but not overly competitive education system, is believed to give children a more well-rounded upbringing.

Expats relocating for a short amount of time mostly opt for private school, although public schools can be a good way for expats to get settled. Children going into the local public school tend to have local friends and the parents find it easier to meet local people.

New Zealand is also ranked among the top countries in matters of health, integration and overall quality of life.

7.      Canada

Moving to Canada will be a fun experience for your entire family – especially the kids! When it comes to schooling and integrating into a new social environment, your child won’t be treated any different than a local child. Canadians are ranked as among the most tolerant and polite people on the planet.

Canada has a high standard of living. Employees who work at places covered by the Canada Labor Code are entitled to up to 17 weeks of maternity leave. Those who care for a newborn or newly adopted child are entitled to parental leave of up to 37 weeks.

8.      Switzerland

The country consistently gets high marks for safety, education and a healthy lifestyle. Young children here aren’t pressured to perform, and the Swiss education system gets high marks on a global scale. While many expats choose to send children to a highly-ranked international school, other opt for a public school. When it comes to school quality, Switzerland is ranked 6th in the world.

9.      Germany

Not only does Germany have a great educational system, but Germans pay great attention to childcare, in which they are ranked 3rd in the world. The quality of life in Germany is very high, and when it comes to being the overall best country for expats, Germany is strongly among the top 10. Germany’s open-market capitalism also carries certain social service guarantees, reflected in school and childcare quality, the overall cost of children, quality of life and health.

10. Singapore

According to HSBC’s survey, Singapore is the best country for expats and a place that takes a good care of its residents. For child education, Singapore is an excellent destination. According to the survey, Singapore has the best education in the world, however it’s very expensive.

There is a child and infant care subsidy available to help parents to defray some costs of child care fees and to ensure affordability and accessibility of child care services. From a safety point of view, Singapore is an extremely safe place to live. It has low crime rates and a zero tolerance policy when it comes to drugs.

There are plenty of places to live where you and your family can thrive, grow and enjoy life to the fullest.  Now you simply need to decide – “where to?”

Written by Einat Mazafi