Expats Find it Difficult to Raise Children in the Middle East


Of all the popular expatriate destinations throughout the world, it is the Middle Eats that presents the biggest challenges when it comes to raising children a new survey had revealed.

According to the 2012 HSBC Expat Explorer survey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates represent the most challenges locations in the world for expatriates to raise a family. The biggest single contributing factor associated with this appeared to be social integration, with six out of 10 expat parents in Saudi Arabia claiming that the levels at which their children were socially integrated had worsened since they had relocated to the Middle East. These findings were similar in both Kuwait and the UAE, with 40 percent and 34 percent respectively of parents in these regions specifying that the social integration of their children had become worse since relocating.

Perhaps due to the fact that less social opportunities are available to expatriate children living in the Middle East, children living in this area of the world are more likely to spend more time playing on video games and watching television. According to the research findings, 47% of expatriates living in Saudi Arabia claimed that their children spent more time indoors watching television or playing computer games than they did in their home country. Similar findings were observed in the UAE (44%) and Kuwait (33%). However, the report did attribute this to the severe weather in these areas of the world, with temperatures in the region of 40 degrees Celsius entailing that many children need to remain indoors to escape the heat: “The need to keep children indoors and away from the scorching heat could be a factor in the increasing likelihood of watching TV and playing video games. Perhaps as a consequence of the limited social integration and need to concentrate on indoor activities, expat children in the Middle East are likely to be missing home.”

Expatriates living in this area of the world also found that their childcare costs were higher than they were in their home country. Expats living in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait reported increases of 77 percent, 70 percent and 67% respectively, the highest of all expat nations involved in the study.