Relocating in Europe with family: Best places to live

Research ranking 25 European countries on a range of factors suggest the Mediterranean and east offer the best quality of life for raising a family.

Image of families with suitcases at train station
The We Are Family Index assessed countries according to a combination of factors including the cost of childcare, property price affordability, and maternity and paternity leave provision.

Which country has the best quality of life for families?

While the UK lagged near the bottom in sixteenth place – also ranking as one of the most expensive countries for childcare in the world – Greece overcame more established high-fliers like Switzerland, Germany and the UK on quality of life indexes to take the top spot, followed by the Slovak Republic and the Czech Republic.The analysis conducted by Wren Kitchens shows the leading trio offering a competitive balance of affordable property prices, cost of living and childcare fees, and ties in with a seven-year survey of social media trends on what family means in different European cultures.

Top 10 countries in Europe for raising a family

  1. Greece
  2. Slovak Republic
  3. Czech Republic
  4. Estonia
  5. Poland
  6. Spain
  7. Hungary
  8. Finland
  9. Germany
  10. Austria

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Parental leave around Europe

In terms of length of paid maternity leave, Greece has the best offering, according to the index, which is based on OECD and other publicly available data.Sweden and Portugal both fell short to secure places 24 and 25 respectively. This despite in Sweden’s case a reputation for having among the most progressive parental leave policies in the world.In Sweden, parents are entitled to share 480 days, or around 16 months, of paid parental leave when a child is born or adopted, at 80% of pay for 380 days. Women still use most of the days, with men on average taking around a quarter.

Family and quality of life rankings

Although regularly identified as offering among the highest quality of living, Switzerland ranks in last place in this index overall due to its comparatively less generous paternity leave, more expensive childcare fees and the cost of living.  The high imbalance between mortgage versus income, as well as being the second-most expensive country for childcare fees, also saw the United Kingdom perform poorly on this index, again despite better performances on other rankings.

Bottom 10 countries in Europe for raising a family

  1. UK (16)
  2. France (17)
  3. Sweden (18)
  4. Ireland (19)
  5. Italy (20)
  6. Norway (21)
  7. Netherlands (22)
  8. Iceland (23)
  9. Luxembourg (24)
  10. Switzerland (25)

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Read more about education and relocating families in the Spring issue of our magazine
 
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