Education and healthy lifestyles make expat families stay longer

Expatriates who move abroad with families "see the world in a different way to other expats" and are more likely to stay in their host countries longer than childless people who relocate, according to the latest HSBC Expat Explorer survey of almost 22,000 professionals working worldwide.

Healthy Expats
The survey found that families tended to stay longer because of their children's education, health, and social and sporting activities. "Expat parents' concern for a high quality, stable family life is one of the main factors for them staying a long time," said HSBC."After making friends, the second most important factor helping expat parents feel at home is having their loved ones settled. Among expats with children, 39 per cent said they could only feel at home once their family were enjoying life abroad."New Zealand and Australia emerged as places expat parents find it particularly difficult to leave, often because of the active, healthy lifestyle their children enjoy."Expat children in Australia and New Zealand are more likely to have increased the amount of sport they play than those living in any other nation – 71 per cent said this in New Zealand and 58 per cent in Australia compared with the global average of 28 per cent," the survey found."Japan is another country where parents are likely to stay for a long time. Expats in the country are almost twice as likely to stay for more than five years."In a country with some of the best numeracy and literacy rates in the world, half of expats in Japan say the schooling is better than at home, compared with only 15 per cent who disagree."And while expats globally are most likely to enrol their children in international schools, the most popular choice in Japan is to enrol in the state education system in a sign of confidence in the nation's schooling."Overall, the survey ranked Sweden as the best destination for family life, closely followed by New Zealand and Singapore. Expats highlight three factors in particular that make Sweden stand out for families: the education system, government policies on families, and the living environment."The supportive environment for family life is evident when children go to school in Sweden. Over two-thirds of expat parents find it simple to arrange their children's education, while the country's free schools model means 77 per cent of parents find the cost of education cheaper than at home," found the survey."Learning the local language is not a barrier for children, with 58 per cent of expat parents saying their offspring are doing so."Looking specifically at British expat families, the survey found that those enjoying the most healthy, outdoor lifestyles were those who relocated to Australia, Spain and France."The weather in these countries plays a role in British expats' decision to go there with Brits almost twice as likely to prioritise the climate when moving (28 per cent compared with 15 per cent of expats globally). Yet British expats also take advantage of their new environment to live healthier lives," said the survey."The majority of adults become more active, with only 17 per cent reducing the amount of exercise they do. This pattern is just as strong among children, with 40 per cent of British parents seeing an increase in the amount of sport their children play."