The 9 most welcoming countries in which to raise a family, according to expats

Mexico City
Flickr | VV Nincic

InterNations, an expat networking group, recently conducted a survey to see which countries were the most welcoming to expat families.

Three thousand families that live and work abroad were surveyed, and it was found that some countries are much more welcoming than others. While countries were ranked based on a number of different categories, including quality of life, ease of settling in and work-life balance, this list focuses exclusively on places deemed “friendliest.”

Without further ado, here are the top nine countries to consider if you’re looking to leave the U.S. and want to set up shop in a new location that’s likely to welcome your family with open arms.

#9 Turkey

While it’s welcoming for families, Turkey ranks lower on safety and security due to political unrest. It also ranks poorly on popularity among expat families due to childcare and education issues, so be sure to keep all of these factors in mind when planning your next move.

turkey photo
Flickr | foundin_a_attic

#8 Mexico

This country ranks No. 1 in finding friends abroad, and it also ranks high on making expats feel welcome, and on overall friendliness.

mexico photo
Flickr | VV Nincic

#7 Australia

Many expats are happy with this country’s work-life balance and the abundance of kid-friendly leisure activities.

australia photo
Flickr | Thomas Depenbusch

#6 Greece

A caveat here: While it’s high on the list for friendliness toward families, it’s lacking in many other important categories. Both the quality and price of education are ranked negatively by families, and it’s one of the least popular countries for expat families overall.

greece photo
Flickr | VV Nincic

#5 Thailand

It’s called “The Land of Smiles” for a reason—the Thais are very welcoming to families, according to the survey. The country also ranked high on the list for medical care and children’s well-being.

thailand photo
Flickr | Traveller-Reini

#4 Costa Rica

Not only is Costa Rica gorgeous, but it has the happiest expat population in the world. Most families cite the climate as a main advantage of living there, and around three-fourths of them enjoy the leisure activities available for children.

costa rica photo
Flickr | Wha'ppen

#3 Taiwan

Taiwan is No. 1 on the list of the most popular destinations for expats. In addition to the country’s friendliness toward kids, Taiwan also draws in families with its high ratings in quality of life, personal finances, cost of living and work environment.

taipei apartments photo
Flickr | ironypoisoning

#2 Israel

In addition to being friendly toward children, Israel also ranks quite high in the education and health categories, lending to its popularity as a destination for expat families. Overall, Israel is third on the list of most popular destinations for expat families in general.

tel aviv photo
Flickr | israeltourism

#1 Uganda

Every single expat parent surveyed said the Ugandan population was friendly toward children. In addition to the overall friendliness of the country, expats also see it as a pretty safe place to raise their kids. Over 90 percent of parents have positive things to say about their children’s well-being there.

kampala uganda photo
Flickr | Justin.Raycraft

Where The U.S. Ranks

While the USA is a very popular destination for education, it’s not necessarily the easiest place to move a family to. Overall, expats said they’re quite satisfied with the country, but there are some issues. Seventy-three percent said locals were friendly toward foreign residents, yet it ranks low in the finding friends subcategory.

Other big hindrances include poor work-life balance, lack of transport infrastructure and the very high cost of childcare. Healthcare is another big issue for expat families. While they view it positively in terms of quality, they don’t believe it’s easily affordable. This is how they typically view education as well, even though the country is very popular for college exchange students.

Even with major issues in some of the countries on this list, the citizens still manage to be welcoming and friendly to new families coming in. If you’re looking for the overall countries deemed best for expat families (taking into consideration not only friendliness but healthcare, education, childcare costs and more), check out the list below and read more on the InterNations site.

Family Life Index 2016

Which country on this list would you want to move to?

[h/t Business Insider]


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