Best Countries to Raise Expatriate Children in

By Rhiannon Davies Published on 17th November 2008 .

Best Countries to Raise Expatriate Children inThe findings of a brand new and extensive survey have been released by HSBC into which nations in the world are the best for raising expatriate children.  Entitled ‘Offshore Offspring,’ the survey is the largest and most comprehensive of its kind and it questioned 2,155 expatriates living in 48 countries across 4 continents.

If you’re contemplating moving abroad to live and work and you have children, this survey showing which are the best countries to raise expatriate children in will likely be of great significance to you.  It covers five key areas that challenge and are important to families, and highlights specifically which nations rank well for expatriate parents and their offspring.

So, if you want to learn more about where it’s affordable to raise your expatriate child, where your children are like to learn and study more, enjoy the outdoor lifestyle or be happy to remain living for the long-term, read on.

The five main areas in which expatriates were questioned and gave comment were: -

• The cost of raising children abroad
• The amount of time children spent outdoors in the new nation
• The amount of time children spent studying in their new nation
• The development of expatriate children’s foreign language skills
• Whether children would be happy to remain living in the new nation

Unsurprisingly for us Britons, the UK was the most expensive country in which to raise children out of the 48 nations surveyed which regularly welcome international and expatriate professional workers.  The UK was followed closely by the UAE – where Dubai ranked especially high in terms of the overall increase in costs parents face when schooling their expatriate children.  Hong Kong came in as the third most expensive international destination in which to raise children…so, if you’re on a tight budget these are the countries to avoid unless you can secure education costs as part of your remuneration package!

If you want to move abroad and live somewhere affordable, attractive and accessible – Spain is the number one choice.  Just another reason why living in Spain is so popular with us Brits then!  Spain came out in the number one position as the most affordable country in which to raise children – followed by India and China.

Spain again ranked well in terms of the amount of time expat children spent outdoors, the nation came second to Australia and ahead of France.  In fact the Mediterranean European destinations all ranked well in terms of the amount of outdoor time children were able to enjoy.  As stated though, Australia is the first choice for parents who believe that fresh air is important for a child’s development and wellbeing.  80% of expatriate parents living in Australia commented that their children now spend more time outside playing.

India, Hong Kong and the UAE are the worst countries you can move to if you want your children to enjoy the great outdoors – pollution, excessive heat and lack of safe communal space are all issues affecting these locations.  And yet, India is the number one nation in which children study more and work harder!  Out of all expatriate parents surveyed, the vast majority stated that their children study more or to the same degree as before they relocated…which is good news for any parent concerned that they will be adversely affecting their child’s educational prospects if they move abroad.  Having said that however, if you move to Belgium, America or the UAE, there is a chance your child will study less.

Only those children living in English speaking nations who originally herald from an English speaking nation are restricted to one language after they move, and the survey showed that over two thirds of all expat children now speak at least two or more languages.  Children living in Europe were the most well integrated in this sense with Spain, France and Germany all coming high in terms of enabling expat children to learn another tongue.

And finally, when it comes to the one country where most expatriate children want to live, it seems that there is no other choice but Canada.  Expat children relocated to Canada want to stay there and Canadian expatriate children who live elsewhere abroad want to return home!

Rhiannon Davies's photo

Rhiannon Davies

Rhiannon is the Publishing Director at Shelter Offshore. With extensive experience as a technical author, Rhiannon's expat life began in Frankfurt with Deutsche Bank. Later as a freelance writer she was able to realise her ambition of living in some of the World's most beautiful locations.

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