According to the HSBC Expat Explorer Survey countries reporting the highest expatriate salaries don’t have the happiest children. In fact, some of the countries with the happiest children rank the lowest in terms of parent salary. This goes to show that what children relocating abroad need, isn’t necessarily related to money.
The countries rated the highest in terms of raising children were France, the Netherlands and Australia. While they were seen as having the best environments for raising children, there were nearer the bottom for economic benefits. France was ranked at 26th, the Netherlands at 29th and Australia in 22nd place.
The reasons these countries ranked so highly as a good place to bring up children are related to health, safety and environment. Respondents reported their children spent more time outdoors than the average (France 53%, Netherlands 53% and Australia 75%). Children also played more sport (France 47%, Netherlands 56% and Australia 81%). This was compared with the survey average, 47% and 46% respectively.
On the other hand, countries which were ranked low on the Raising Children Abroad table, UK (10th out of 10 countries), the USA (9th out of 10) and Mexico (8th out of 10) tend to score highly for expat salaries (joint 10th and 9th respectively out of 31 countries).
Safety also appeared to play a factor in why these countries scored so poorly. The average percentage of expats who feel their children’s safety has deteriorated since relocation is 16%. A quarter of people who moved to the U.S said the safety of their children had declined, 28% in the UK and three quarters of people in Mexico reported the same.
Hong Kong and Singapore provide the best of both worlds. Ranking highly in terms of income and still mid-table for raising children abroad. Children receive high quality childcare, find it relatively easy to integrate and lead moderately healthy lives.
For people without children, Thailand was ranked as the best country in terms of overall “expat experience”. It is seen as the easiest place to find accommodation, organize healthcare and has a healthy work-life balance.