Tuesday 4th January 2011

The Best Places in the World to Bring up Children Named by HSBC

New research from HSBC Bank International has revealed that Belgium is the best place to raise children and the United Kingdom is the Worst.

Over 4,100 expatriate families were surveyed as part of HSBC’s annual Expat Explorer survey and the results were recently published in their Offshore Offspring report. Within the survey parents were asked to provide ratings on their lifestyle abroad across several areas, including raising children, the quality of education on offer and the ease of integration.

According to the survey, 81% of expatriates living in Belgium said that the standard of education on offer in their host country was higher and a further 68% claiming that childcare was better. It appears that Belgium-based expat parents also benefit from some of the cheapest childcare in the world, with 65% of participants reportedly paying less than they did at home.

At the other end of the scale the United Kingdom was named as the worst place in the world to raise children. The low scores for the UK were attributed to high childcare costs and low quality education. In a press release, Nick Winsor, CEO at HSBC Bank International, commented: “With the growth of emerging markets we are seeing more and more people beginning a new life overseas. These results show that parents considering such a move appear to have a lot to gain for themselves and for their children by becoming expats.

“Indeed the low rank of the UK relative to other expat destinations to some extent undermines traditional perceptions that more developed markets provide a better setting for bringing up children.”

“Of course making the decision to become an expat is a complex one, but hopefully these results will help to set expat expectations based upon those who have already relocated” he added.

According to 66% of expats, living abroad offers their children increased safety and expats in Hong Kong (94%), Singapore (90%) and Qatar (89%) believed that their children were safer in the host country than they would be in their home country. Discussing these results Lisa Wood, Head of Customer Propositions at HSBC Bank International said: “For any parent moving abroad their child's safety will be one of the most important factors influencing their choice of location, so this will be welcome news to any would-be expat parents.

"We aren't surprised to see such findings. Through our Expat Experience Report released earlier this year, we know that expats are highly likely to mix with and make friends with fellow expats following relocation - a trend that was even more pronounced in Asia and the Middle East where expats are highly likely to live in secure expat communities. This increased perception of safety could be attributed to the fact they have built strong links with their fellow expats and have a greater sense of community than in their home country."

Other Major Findings

  • 84% of children living overseas are likely to learn a foreign language.
  • 47% play more sports.
  • 53% spend more time with their families than they did in their home country.
  • The cost of living overseas with a family is likely to be higher than remaining in your home country.

Best Countries for Expat Families:

  1. Belgium
  2. Spain
  3. France
  4. Hong Kong
  5. Germany
  6. Canada
  7. Australia
  8. Netherlands
  9. China
  10. Singapore
  11. United Arab
  12. Emirates Qatar
  13. United States
  14. United Kingdom
If you’re considering moving abroad with your family then you should take a look at our free Expat Manual, which contains comprehensive information about living overseas with children, including crucial information on expat child syndrome, international schools and assisting your children to adjust.

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