The most family-friendly expat destinations

  • expat family
Published 2018-05-15 09:00

In spite of the fact that families around the world have unique structures and are affected by different socio-economic environments, they are the basic unit of every society. On the United Nations’ International Day of Families, presents the best countries to raise a family, as revealed by the latest HSBC Expat Explorer survey. Find out where you get high-quality childcare, education, and healthcare to secure a glowing future for your family.


family cycling in the Netherlands
Comaniciu Dan /

Moving to the Netherlands most likely suggests moving to the central-western region, in the megapolis of Randstad, where the country’s largest cities are: Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht. There are many qualities that your children will benefit from if growing up in the Dutch society — freedom, tolerance, liberal views, and friendly people are some of them. To top it off, the Netherlands ranks number one for school quality; elementary schools prioritise playtime, sports, and eco-friendly behaviours. The performance in a state exam greatly determines which secondary education path the child will follow — the university or vocational training path. The government supports schools and ensures they meet a high- quality standard.  


father and daughter fishing in Sweden

Sweden knows better than any other country to look after its citizens with generous social security schemes and a stable economy, which ensure the wellbeing of its population. Family life penetrates Sweden’s culture, bringing the country in the number one place for education and childcare. Here, parents enjoy work-life balance and facilities such as kids’ libraries and dedicated public spaces, which encourage spending quality time with your children outside the home. Half of Sweden’s land is covered in forest, offering excellent opportunities for outdoor activities and environmental education. Taxes and cost of living can be extremely high, but the free education system and healthcare balance them out.


expat family in Singapore
Ariyaphol Jiwalak /

Singapore isn’t just ranked as the third best country for expat families but also as the best destination for expats overall, based on career opportunities, finances, healthcare, social life, and quality of life with children among other criteria. Singapore is a multicultural hub, where children learn from a very early stage to respect the differences among cultural groups and coexist with kids from various backgrounds. As a parent, in Singapore, you feel that your children are growing up in a safe and clean environment. However, it’s true that schooling for expats in Singapore is rather expensive — before moving to Singapore with your kids ensure that your job offers some education allowance to help you out. Public schools, which are cheaper, are also available. However, public schools follow the local curriculum and often apply corporal punishment, which is entirely acceptable.


family in Norway

This small country of about five million people makes for an ideal expat destination for families thanks to the distinctive work-life balance and a good healthcare system, which is vastly funded by the national budget. Initially, you may find yourself struggling with the icy climate. However, the Nordic beauty of fjords and mountains make up for the cold weather, giving many options for outdoor activities with the family — from hiking and skiing to fishing and horse riding. There are both private and public schools in Norway, with the last teaching only in the Norwegian language, which may not be a realistic option for most expat children. If you prefer to educate your children through an alternative method, Norwegians are enthusiastic about homeschooling, as long as you comply with the national curriculum and have informed the local authorities.


family in the park in Germany
DS_93 /

Germany is Europe’s most stable economy and the world’s fourth biggest economy according to IMF’s most recent data available. If you decide to raise a family in Germany, on the one hand, you are favoured with a welcoming and diverse environment, and on the other hand, you must be prepared to adapt to a non-flexible attitude; Germans value structure and schedules. In Germany you don’t necessarily need the German language for business, but if you wish for your child to expand its social network, speaking the language is useful for making new friends. In Germany, your kids learn punctuality and time-management and value privacy and hard work.

Sources :