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Ask any parent and they’ll confirm: having children changes your priorities. Their needs come first, and your hopes and dreams centre around building the ideal future for them. If you’ve found yourself questioning whether South Africa is a good place to raise children, given increasing safety concerns and rising crime levels, corruption and deteriorating education levels; you’re not alone. Let’s take a look at some alternative destinations for South African families and run through some of the best countries to raise children.

Taking into account quality of education, social benefits, safety, nature, social tolerance, healthcare, childcare services, and standard of living and costs, these are our top picks out of the best countries in which to raise kids. 

Best country to raise children:

Sweden: a swell place to make a family.

In addition to its people having the longest life expectancy in the world, thanks to its strong social policy, Sweden ranks as the top country in the world in which to raise children, because parents:

  • Get 480 days of paid parental leave, 60 of which are paternal days.
  • Receive a monthly allowance per child from the state.
  • Can reduce working hours until their children are eight years of age.
  • Get free health care and college education.

Other things you should know about parenting in Sweden:

  • Corporal punishment (aka spanking) is a crime, and has been since 1979.
  • Postpartum care and support is excellent and both parents get to play more of an active role in raising kids.
  • Childcare (creche, daycare and the like) is subsidised by the government and includes two meals a day.

Parenting done right in Denmark:

Much like Sweden, the leave system for parents in Denmark is one of the most flexible and equitable – both parents can take 23 weeks of leave, with mothers given four weeks of maternity leave before their due date. Pretty great place to raise children, right?

  • Denmark has a universal health care system which is mostly free.
  • Social systems are also strong, with good support for new mothers.
  • School-going age is six, and the school day ends at 2pm, after which the afternoon is used for free play, until the age of 10.
  • The school curriculum focuses on teamwork, interdependence and empathy over individual achievement and higher education is free.

There’s a reason Australia already has so many expat families:

Highly rated as one of the best countries to raise children, as the state has a holistic focus on health, societal integration and familial well-being.

  • Eligible parents are offered financial support by the state for up to 18 weeks after birth or adoption.
  • Public school education is free, as is healthcare and parental support structures are great.
  • With such great weather there’s a lot of sunshine time to spend outdoors, which is perfect because there are parks and playgrounds around every corner.
  • The sense of community in neighbourhoods is fantastic too, making it a great place to build your village in which to raise your children.

Netherlands is ideal for new families looking to put down roots:

Creating a nurturing environment in which children can grow is important in the Netherlands. Its strong focus on quality childcare and education makes it one of the best countries to raise a family.

  • Every mother is entitled to a maternity nurse, which is covered (either partially or completely) by insurance.
  • Theirs is a very tolerant society with a liberal approach to many social issues.
  • Their education system is exceptionally well rated, and very attractive for expat families, given the ease with which children can be integrated into the schooling system.
  • Childcare is considered affordable in the Netherlands, which makes a big difference if you’re working long hours or studying on top of a job.

Singapore is a surprisingly good place for expats to raise children:

Singapore has been recognised as one of the best countries for expats to raise children, noteworthy especially for taking good care of its residents.

  • For child education, Singapore is an excellent destination, which has been ranked the best in the world for children, although it is very expensive.
  • A subsidy for child and infant care helps relieve some of the pressure for parents.
  • From a health and safety point of view, Singapore is attractive because of its low crime rates and zero tolerance toward drugs.

FinGlobal: ready to help you join the expat family

No matter where you decide to settle your family when you leave South Africa, you’ll need to sort your finances out to make this possible. At FinGlobal, we specialise in making the financial transition easier for you.

We’ve already helped more than 60 000 clients living abroad with various aspects of their cross-border financial portfolio, and we’re ready to offer you the same expertise and dedicated, personalised attention.

Whether you’re considering the implications of financial emigration, or you need assistance with tax clearance, or a tax refund, we’ve got it covered. When it comes to retirement annuity encashment, pension incomes or foreign exchange, we’ve got that handled too.