Expat's Manual

Where in the world are the best places to raise a family? Anyone who has parental responsibilities will know that, regardless of where you choose to live, there are a number of issues relating to the needs of your children that must always be considered. Everyone has a personal opinion to offer on which cities in the world are the best places to raise a family or offer a higher standard of living for children, but we would like to provide you with facts and figures from reliable sources.


Best Places to Raise a Family: Research Findings

HSBC's research Offshore Offspring was published in 2010 and revealed the findings of their research into expatriate’s experiences of raising their children abroad. The report focused on 14 popular expatriate destinations and presented a league table that was compiled by expatriates rating their host country in terms of the health and wellbeing, childcare and integration opportunities on offer. In addition to this they also rated the relative ease with which they were able to perform the following activities:

  • Organize education/schooling
  • Make new friends
  • Experience new cultures
  • Create healthier lifestyles

According to the findings of HSBC's research, Belgium is the best country for raising children, ranking first overall on the Offshore Offspring league table. This part of the world scored highly for the quality of childcare on offer and the standard of education available to the expatriate population. Of those surveyed, 50% of expatriated felt the the cost of living in Belgium was improving and 65% thought the standard of healthcare on offer was better than that in their home county.

Mainland Europe scored extremely well as a suitable place for expatriate children with Spain featuring in 2nd place, France 3rd and Germany 5th. The United Kingdom, on the otherhand, appeared in last position, scoring the lowest scores for childcare and health and wellbeing.

The full results were as follows:


HSBC Offshore Offspring results
Source= HSBC Offshore Offspring 2010

Best Places to Raise a Family: Quality of Life

According to research carried out by Mercer Consulting <www.mercer.com> in 2011, European cities dominate the rankings as offering the best quality of life. The results are based on the following factors:

  1. Political and social environment (political stability, crime, law enforcement, etc)
  2. Economic environment (currency exchange regulations, banking services, etc)
  3. Socio-cultural environment (censorship, limitations on personal freedom, etc)
  4. Health and sanitation (medical supplies and services, infectious diseases, sewage, waste disposal, air pollution, etc)
  5. Schools and education (standard and availability of international schools, etc)
  6. Public services and transportation (electricity, water, public transport, traffic congestion, etc)
  7. Recreation (restaurants, theatres, cinemas, sports and leisure, etc)
  8. Consumer goods (availability of food/daily consumption items, cars, etc)
  9. Housing (housing, household appliances, furniture, maintenance services, etc)
  10. Natural environment (climate, record of natural disasters)

Top 25 Cities for Quality of Life 2011

Rank City Country
1 Vienna Austria
2 Zurich Switzerland
3 Auckland New Zealand
4 Munich Germany
5 Dusseldorf Germany
5 Vancouver Canada
7 Frankfurt Germany
8 Geneva Switzerland
9 Bern Switzerland
9 Copenhagen Denmark
11 Sydney Australia
12 Amsterdam Netherlands
13 Wellington New Zealand
14 Ottowa Canada
15 Toronto Canada
16 Hamburg Germany
17 Berlin Germany
18 Melbourne Australia
19 Luxembourg Luxembourg
20 Stockholm Sweden

*Ranking provided by Mercer Consulting (2011).


City specific information

For city specific information about what it is really like to raise a family in a given expatriate destination please see the relevant relocation guide. Each city specific guide contains comprehensive insights and advice about everything you ned to know when moving your children overseas. From educational facilities and childcare through to entertainment, safety issues and medical attention.

Do you have a comment about this article, a further question or even a correction? If so please do let us know. We may edit your comments and cannot guarantee that all comments will be published, please be nice!

Our Expat's Manual is updated regularly so comments about the article may have already been addressed.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Back to top