Canada ranks as best country for expats to raise children: HSBC survey

Jordana Divon
Contributing Writer
Shine On

The lure of our great outdoors, our friendly people and our excellent healthcare system.

These were just a few of the factors that led more than 5,300 expat parents in this year's HSBC Expat Explorer Survey 2012 to name Canada the best country in the world to raise children.

"For expat parents there is even more to take into consideration when choosing where to live and work and safety of children, and their ability to integrate into the new community are of paramount importance," writes Dean Blackburn, head of HSBC expat, in the report's executive summary.

"Canada scores top in the Raising Children Abroad league tables. The country scores well alongside Australia as a place for active families, with expat parents here reporting their children are more active in sports and playing outdoors since relocation."

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Our home and native land outranked eight other countries on the list, including the US, and the Netherlands, to take top honours in the "raising children abroad" category.

Factors that catapulted Canada to the top included 40 per cent of expat parents revealing their children have turned off the screens — either computer or television — in order to go play in the park or backyard more often.

In fact, 45 per cent said their children are now far more active, engaged in sports and other physical activities. A beneficial offshoot that appears to have trickled up to the adult contingent, as 25 per cent admit their children's heightened activity has inspired them to lace up their sneakers and kick the ball around a little more.

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Another area we seem to excel is on the opposite end of the age spectrum. As a retirement destination, Canada edges out the majority, with 52 per cent of surveyed expats admitting they'd like to live out their golden years here.

No surprise there, considering positive views on our healthcare system and appreciation of our friendly folks. Canada is one of the few countries where expats said they spend more time with locals than with other expats.

But it wasn't praise across the board. When it comes to economics, only two out of five expats in Canada said they were raking in more dough than their previous home. However, the high accommodations standard coupled with the excellent environment to raise a family has led most to take in less salary in favour of these other benefits.

And though this is just one survey of many, it's a good reminder that while we may complain about the things that don't go right for us here, countless others would give anything to have those same inconveniences.