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As anyone with children has discovered, having kids changes pretty much every element of your life.
We swap the sporty convertible for a sensible people carrier, the tropical beaches for ones closer to home and the penthouse to a property with a garden for the swing.
Unsurprisingly, it seems that expats who move abroad with their family also behave considerably differently to those without dependents.
The latest HSBC Expat Explorer survey reveals, for example, that expats are more likely to remain long-term in a new location rather than flitting from one country to another with gay abandon.
In general only 50% of expats have lived in their adopted country for 5 years or longer. However for those with children that number increases to 57%.
However not all countries are created equal for expat parents, with some having far more impressive “stick rates” than others. Australia and New Zealand are great examples, where 71% of expat parents have lived with their youngsters for at least five years – a figure that is 25% higher than the global average.
However Australia is far from alone in this regard; Japan is another hotspot for expat parents, with this demographic almost twice as likely to remain in the country long term than those without a young family.
The data from HSBC suggests that there are a number of reasons for this inclination to remain in a specific adopted country for longer than the average. Most critical is the ease with which both parents and children manage to make friends in their new country. It is also critical for parents to feel that their children are truly settled; without this few expats seem able to fully enjoy the expat lifestyle themselves.
But, as mentioned, these critical factors mean that some countries are considered far more “family friendly” than others. So where are these hotspots for child-rearing?
The Expat Explorer survey is helpfully broken down into a number of categories which allows us to “drill down” to just those factors which have an impact on family life. These include the quality and cost of education and childcare, not to mention how easily children integrate and general influences on family health.
Coming top in the “Family” category comes Sweden, long known for its generous social security programs which affords considerable time off for having children. A range of benefits also ensure that schooling is of high quality and that the work: life balance in the country makes bringing children as simple as possible.
Second choice for families is New Zealand, with its “outdoorsy” sporty climate. Here 71% of expat parents claim that their youngsters are doing more sport than they did in their home country; something that can have a very positive impact not just on overall health but also on ease of integration.
Third choice for families is Singapore. Not just known for its exceptional standards of education, but also for how clean and safe the country is, this is a perfect example of a country where parents can feel comfortable letting their children outside without concern.
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Expatriate Group & Expatriate Healthcare are trading styles of Strategic Insurance Services Limited who is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). FCA Firm reference Number is 307133. Strategic Insurance Services Limited is authorised to carry on Regulated Activities in accordance with the permissions granted by the FCA under PART IV of the Financial Services and Markets ACT 2000.