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Benefits offset costs for expat families

While education and childcare can be more expensive abroad, the Expat Explorer survey shows there are some benefits of raising a family abroad that money can’t buy.

Improvements worldwide

Globally, many expat parents highlight an improvement in the quality of childcare and education after moving abroad. Almost half (43%) of expats say that education in their new country is better compared to that in their home country, while a similar proportion (47%) agree that the quality of childcare in their new country is better compared to home.

4 3 %

43% of expats say that education in their new country is better than back home

In Europe, 50% feel that childcare is improved in comparison to home – more than twice the number who say it is worse (20%). Sweden (75%), Norway (74%) and Austria (77%) are the star performers for this, with parents noting the most dramatic change. In the Middle East, over half (52%) of expat parents describe childcare as better than at home, with the UAE (55%) exceeding the global average of 47%.


However, this improvement in quality comes at a cost. Almost two thirds (62%) of parents globally say it’s more expensive raising children abroad than it would be at home, regardless of where they live. The Middle East is one of the areas where this is particularly true. Three quarters (75%) of expats living there say childcare is more expensive, and 87% of expats say education costs have increased after moving. Education expenses also tend to increase for expats in North America (61%), with a similar proportion noting a similar rise in childcare costs (63% compared with the global average of 58%).

7 5 %

75% of expats in the Middle East say childcare is more expensive

…but worth it

While there is a significant financial cost to keep in mind, the research shows that many parents recognise the value of making this investment. Around nine in ten (86%) of those who had a child abroad feel their children’s quality of life is the same or better compared to at home – as do 88% of those who moved with their child. In fact, many expat parents say their child’s quality of life is better as a result of the move. This is especially true in places like New Zealand (82%), Australia (79%), Austria (77%), Bahrain (73%) and Ireland (73%).

Another benefit recognised by parents in France (85%), Germany (85%) and Belgium (83%) is their children’s fluency in more than one language.

Elsewhere, parents in Kenya (85%), South Africa (82%), Japan (78%), Hong Kong (78%) and the UAE (76%) highlight their offspring’s openness towards new cultures and experiences (compared with a global average of 69%).

The ability to have friends from all over the world, to visit more countries and to feel accepted anywhere they go.- British parent in UAE

The 2016 Expat Explorer survey is a global survey completed by 26,871 expats across the world. The research was conducted online by YouGov in March and April 2016. League tables are calculated using responses to 27 of the questions asked in the research. A minimum sample of 100 expat respondents including at least 30 expat parents is required for a country to be included in the league tables.

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Expat Explorer collects key findings from countries around the world.

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