Tuesday 30 October 2012

Top Countries for Raising Children Abroad in 2012

The Expat Explorer 2012 survey results are out. This year 5399 expats were questioned from 97 countries of the world. You can download the full report here.

To discover which country is the best to raise your child in the survey looked at these 3 main 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, enjoying 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 countries for raising children abroad according to this survey: 
  1. Canada
  2. The Netherlands
  3. Hong Kong
  4. Australia
  5. United Arab Emirates
  6. USA
  7. Saudia Arabia
  8. United Kingdom
  9. Kuwait
Apparently Hong Kong is the safest place to raise a child. 91% Of the expat parents in Hong Kong said that the safety of their children had improved after relocation.

Australia and Canada are on the top of the list for active expat families. Not only were the children more active in sports in these 2 countries but even some of the parents became more active in sports.

The Middle East provides a more challenging climate for expat families. Social integration is one of the areas were expat parents reported that their children had most difficulty. The expat children in the Middle East spent more time watching TV and playing video games. 

If you want to compare the results with last years outcome, check my post on The Top 10 Countries for Raising Children Abroad in 2011. Of course I am proud that the Netherlands is still at the top of the list on second place. I am a little surprised that France was in first place last year but that it does not feature in the top 9 countries this year. I wonder why.

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.

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  1. I wonder also about the absence of Singapore. I heard it is such a great country to raise kids.

  2. Hi Franck, if you want first hand information from someone who has lived in Singapore with kids maybe you should check the blog by Maria "I was an expat wife" http://iwasanexpatwife.com/
    In 2011 Singapore made 6th place in the top places to raise kids abroad. I looked at the 2012 data and saw that for Singapore and a couple of other countries they could not give an overall ranking as they received insufficient Raising Children Abroad data.

  3. Hi, my name is Lilian Pérez, I come from Bogotá, Colombia and I'm married with finish man who lives now in USA because of his job, we have twins of 17 months old and now my husban wants that we go to live together in Usa and I don't want do it because we would be 4 foraigners there: finish man, colombia woman and kids from where? We don't have rooths there, our families and friends are in Finland or in Colombia aqnd I would prefer that my children grow up in Finland or in Colombia, thye have both passports and nationalities but mothing in common with Usa. Readin your comments I think that I'm right but how can I do? my husband doesn't wants his choice and he says that just in Usa he has work and for my, my professional life will be end there because I'm lawyer here and in Usa I'll be nothing, just one latin more without job. Thanks for you help and council

  4. Hello Lilian, thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. Life is quite complicated some times and I am sorry to say that there are not always easy answers. You are raising cross culture kids: half Finnish and half Colombian, maybe this website is interesting for you: http://www.incultureparent.com/ It's for parents raising global citizens. It is good to see and talk about what the advantages are and what the disadvantages are of the different options. Do you know anyone in a similar situation? Some times it can help to talk to them. Try and seek wisdom from wise people. If your parents are still alive or wise aunts or uncles: what do they say? You know when you seek for an answer you will find one but some times it can take so time.

  5. In another list Finland was the best country, just few days ago...