Sweden named 'best place in the world for expat families'

Lee Roden
Lee Roden - [email protected]
Sweden named 'best place in the world for expat families'
Children at a Stockholm preschool going for a walk. Photo: Anders Ahlgren/SvD/TT

Sweden has been ranked as the best place in the world for expat families by a long-running survey, beating the Czech Republic (second) and Singapore (third) to top spot and retaining its crown from 2015.


The 2016 HSBC Expat Explorer took in the opinions of 26,871 people who identified as expats, the term used in the survey, in 45 different host countries, and the results speak highly of the Scandinavian nation when it comes to raising a family there.

Three quarters (75 percent) of expat parents in Sweden rated their children’s quality of life there as better than back home, while the same proportion believe the quality of childcare available in the Nordic country is better.

That’s something Scotswoman Jill Leckie agrees with, having moved to Sweden with her Swedish partner to have their child and started up the Littlebearabroad website for foreign parents raising a family in Sweden.

“Our daughter goes to a small preschool in the suburbs with a class of ten other kids. They spend the majority of the day outside and have fresh food prepared on-site every day. For now I’m not sure I could ask for much more,” she told The Local.

Asked what was better about the quality of family life in Sweden compared to the United Kingdom, Leckie highlighted cost-effective childcare as standing out.

“Circumstances prevail so not everyone will experience being an expat family the same way, but moving to Sweden with a family or starting a family here has huge advantages. For me it was crystallized when I was sent our invoice for my daughter’s daycare this month and it was just over 1000 kronor ($116). I have friends in the UK spending £1000 ($1295) a week on childcare.”

The majority of parents surveyed (69 percent) said that their children’s health and well-being is better since they moved to Sweden, compared to a global average of 49 percent.

Just under half (46 percent) said the quality of education in Sweden is better, beating the global average of 43 percent, while 72 percent said education is less expensive.

READ ALSO: Why is Sweden top for expat families?

In another section of the survey, the HSBC Explorer’s Economics League covering personal finances, views on the local economy and working life, Sweden placed sixth, with Switzerland topping the table, followed by Singapore and Germany.

Working life was the economics barometer Sweden performed best in, where it came third. The category looks at expats’ prospects for career progression, work/life balance and job security.

Things weren’t quite so positive for Sweden in the third section of HSBC’s survey however, the Experience League. In that ranking of an expat’s lifestyle, ability to integrate with the people around them, and ease of setting up in their new country, Sweden placed 31st. The top three countries were New Zealand, Spain and Canada.

Within the Experience League, Sweden suffered most in the “people” (ease of integrating, ease of forming friendships) and “setting up” (finding accommodation) barometers, reinforcing the stereotype of cold natives and showing expats are not immune to the country’s well-documented housing crisis


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