Don't raise your family in Britain, say expats: UK voted worst place in developed world to bring up children
By Lucy Ballinger
Last updated at 8:50 AM on 12th March 2010
Britain is the worst country in which to raise children, while Australia is the best, a study has found.
The survey of expatriates living in six different countries found there was a better standard of living Down Under, and a better quality of family life.
A massive 78 per cent of children who moved there from countries such as the UK spent more time outdoors than they did before, and the majority ate more healthily.
In comparison, foreign children who moved to Britain were more likely to become lazy and inactive.
A third of parents who have moved here said their children watched more TV than they did before and 27 per cent saw an increase in the amount of time spent playing video games.
Overall, Britain was also branded the most difficult country to move to. Schools were found to be less welcoming, and it was difficult to arrange child care.
A massive 45 per cent of parents said the quality of their family life had decreased since moving to the UK – just 16 per cent noticed an improvement, according to the survey commissioned by HSBC.
Britain was rated the lowest of the six countries examined. The list, from best to worst, read Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates, the U.S. and the UK.
The results bode well for Leah Wood, 31, who recently emigrated to Sydney with her Australian husband Jack MacDonald and their nine-month- old daughter Maggie.
Miss Wood, the daughter of Rolling Stone Ronnie said she wanted a 'fresh start'. She said: 'My husband is Australian and I love the lifestyle and the pureness of this city. It's really easy to be organic here. I want the best for my little Maggie.'
An HSBC spokesman said: 'When you're talking to an expat community you're obviously talking to people with a varied degree of experience in terms of different countries.
'The key centres around childcare and education… they were the things that were really highlighted. The UK has scored lower than some of the other countries in those respects.'
(Pictures from Sydney and London)
The best and the worst: Australia has been voted the best place in the world to raise children, while Britain came last in the poll of six western countries
But Britain did rank highly in terms of cultural integration, with 83 per cent saying they were able to adapt to UK living 'well' or 'really well'.
The spokesman said: 'The UK is a great place to be able to dip into a number of different cultural experiences.'
The Offshore Offspring report, commissioned by HSBC, examined children's integration, health and well-being by questioning 3,100 expats from 50 nations living in the six countries.
In 2008, emigration from recession-hit Britain reached a record level with 427,000 people leaving, up from 341,000 in 2007, according to the Office for National Statistics.