Monday, 5 December 2011

Top 10 countries for Raising Children abroad in 2011

The Expat Explorer Survey 2011 is a survey in which 3385 expats participated from over a 100 countries of the world. I am most interested in the chapter on raising children abroad. In other words that is the chapter on raising third culture kids. I want to know which country parents think is the best to raise your kids.

The survey looked at 3 main factors on raising kids abroad. These are the 3 factors:
  1. Childcare (safety of children, standard of education, quality of childcare and overall cost of raising children)
  2. Health and wellbeing (spending time outdoors, spending time with parents, playing sports, playing video games, watching TV, children eat less junk food now)
  3. Integration (settled in quicker than parents, enjoyed their lives, are learning new languages, missing home and friends, social integration)
Scores from each factor are weighted to arrive at an overall Raising Children Abroad score and overall rank. The weighting applied is as follows: childcare - 33,3%, Health & wellbeing - 33,3% and Integration 33,3%.

Now here are the top 10 countries for raising children abroad according to this survey:
  1. France
  2. The Netherlands
  3. Australia
  4. Hong Kong
  5. China
  6. Singapore
  7. United Arab Emirates
  8. Mexico
  9. United States
  10. United Kingdom
France provides the best environment for raising children, with the Netherlands second best and Australia in third place. Children in these countries appear to lead a much healthier lifestyle: spending more time outdoors and more time playing sports. Of course I am a little proud that the Netherlands scores so well on raising children. I will share more specific results about the Netherlands in one of my next blog posts.

What are your experiences with raising kids abroad? Do they match the results of this survey? Do you have tips for other parents? Please share it with us. Thanks.

Good reads:
Bilingualism and growing up abroad
My 10 advantages of growing up abroad
Third culture kids: learning their mother tongue
Third culture kids going to university

Photo by KConners, MorgueFile


  1. From that list, I would put Singapore as #1 and The Netherlands as #2.

    I would never want to raise children in Australia, China, the United Arab Emirates, Mexico, the United States, or the United Kingdom.

    I don't know France or Hong Kong well enough to say either way.

  2. Thanks Will for your comment. I would love to know why you would put Singapore on the top of the list. I'm glad you agree with the Netherlands as #2 (that's where I blog from).
    Would like to hear your motivation about not wanting to raise children in the list of the other countries.

  3. Hello!

    I am so afraid!! I am brazilian and i will move to Nederlands in september. My son has 5 and i don't know what do with him. Some people said that the cildren with five learn soo fast that he will speak dutch much more fast than me. But, in other hand, some people said that is not fair with him go to another school now, that i have to wait more... this things. Please, if is possible, i really like to know what you think about this.

  4. Hallo Camilla, thanks for your question. Before I answer your question I want to warmly welcome you to our "cold" country (sorry about the cold weather).
    It's true children learn new languages very fast and your son will learn Dutch more quickly that you will. At the age of 5 he will be able to pick up things fast because he is still young.
    One thing that is important if you are really stressed and worried about the move this will rub off on him and he will be worried and uncomfortable about the move. If you are relaxed about it, he will be confident that things will work out.
    It's difficult to give you an advice but in general it is possible to move internationally with kids, and with some help they can do fine. Wishing you well. greetings Janneke

  5. My 3 boys have 8 yrs of wonderful childhood in the United States! We moved back to Singapore 6 years ago but in their down time they always talk about their growing up years in the States.


  6. Hello Michelle, I'm glad your boys have good memories of growing up in the United States. Even within nations there can be big differences. Surveys give a general impression but your experience can be different. Thanks for your comment. What's your experience of children growing up in Singapore?