Congratulations Canada — you have yourself a mighty fine reputation among parents.
In the recent HSBC Expat Explorer Survey 2012, Canada ranked first among the nine nations considered in the "raising children abroad" category, competing against such countries as the Netherlands, the USA and Saudi Arabia.
Surveying more than 5,300 expats around the globe — who, after all, would know more about raising kids in a variety of countries than anyone else — the annual survey is meant to help those who are moving to foreign countries get the most information they can before they depart. Although the report did not break down findings into cities, the Mercer 2012 Cost of Living Rankings marked Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, and Calgary on their extensive list of expatriate communities.
Of particular note in the 2012 HSBC survey was the Canadian love of the outdoors, with 40 per cent of expat parents saying their children now spent time outdoors once they moved to Canada, and 45 per cent saying their kids are now playing sports. Even the parents were affected, with a quarter of the adults noting they were playing more sports since arriving in Canada.
Other global rankings haven't seen Canada fare quite as well, with Save the Children's State of the World's Mother report putting the country at the 19th best place in the world to be a mother, based on male-to-female income ratios, maternity leave benefits, educational enrolment, female life expectancy, risk of maternal death, and women's participation in government.
Meanwhile, separate categories in the HSBC survey proved illustrative in light of Canadians' beliefs about ourselves. A rank of 14 for overall experience puts the country in the middle of the pack of 30 countries, though being the fifth easiest country to set up in (taking into account things like finding accommodation) could speak to the efficiency of our bureaucracy as compared to other places. Meanwhile, 62 per cent of expats felt the locals were incredibly friendly, and chose to spend more time with "homegrown' Canadians than other expats.
SEE: Where Canada ranked when it comes to raising kids. Do you think this reflects your own experiences raising children in Canada? Let us know in the comments below:
Canada came in third for the views on the safety of its children, following Hong Kong and United Arab Emirates.
For the "standard of education available to your children," Canada came in second.
For "quality of childcare," Canada came in fourth.
For the "cost of raising children," Canada came in first (in a positive way).
Fifty per cent of kids spent time outside, coming in second only to Australia to let kids enjoy our landscape.
Despite the long winters, it seems Canada is the best place to play sports, ranking first among all the countries for kids' athletic involvement.
Unfortunately, Canada didn't do quite as well when it came to video games — the country ranked seventh, with only 13 per cent of parents saying their kids played fewer video games in Canada.
Watching Less TV
Canada ranked third among countries for children to watch less TV.
In addition, parents also found children ate less junk food in Canada than in other countries, at 28 per cent.
Social integration is very high for children who come to Canada, at 68 per cent, while their parents found friendliness among Canadians to be pervasive as well.
A whopping 97 per cent of expat children are "enjoying their lives" in Canada, noted their parents.
Time With Parents
Parents found kids were right in the middle when it came to spending time with their parents, ranking fourth among the countries — perhaps because of their awesome social integration with friends?
Learning New Languages
Parents were very happy with their children learning new languages in Canada, with 88 per cent saying this was the case.
Only 38 per cent of children were found to be missing home and their friends in Canada, compared to a 51 per cent global number.