The World’s Best Cities For Expectant Parents
Although being pregnant and becoming a parent is an incredibly exciting experience, it can be very daunting and stressful, especially if you’re currently living abroad. From sorting out your international health insurance and finding the right medical care before your baby arrives, to preparing for childcare costs, there can be a lot to think about and consider.
No matter where in the world you live, some stresses can’t be avoided. However, some cities make things easier for new parents than others. So, where are the best cities for expecting expats?
From combined paid leave to the average cost of childcare, we compared a range of factors across 50 chosen cities, before assigning a pregnancy-friendly score to each destination.
The city of Reykjavik in Iceland remains at the top spot this year, with an overall score of 7.50/10. New parents living in the city receive a combined paid leave of 52 weeks and pay around €314 for private childcare services per month.
Pregnancy-friendly score /10
Weeks combined paid leave
When welcoming a new addition into the world, it’s important to take time off to spend together as a family, allowing new parents to bond with their baby. When looking at combined paid parental leave, there are some cities which offer a far higher amount of paid leave than others.
Helsinki in Finland still offers the highest amount of combined paid leave, with a huge 170 weeks available to new parents. It’s also important to mention that the city of Seoul in South Korea still offers the longest paid paternity leave for new fathers at 52.6 weeks.
Of children participating in early childhood education and care services
Early childhood education and care services can be incredibly important to parents, as it provides them with the support that they need when returning to work.
Amsterdam in the Netherlands has now overtaken Reykjavik and has a huge 65.5% of children aged between 0-2 years old participating in early childhood education.
Monthly private childcare costs
Monthly private childcare costs
The cost of childcare services can be very high, leaving many parents questioning whether it’s worth returning to work or not. However, some cities across the world have relatively low monthly childcare costs, making the services more accessible to parents.
Stockholm in Sweden is currently the most affordable city when it comes to childcare services, knocking Berlin off the top spot. To send your child to a private childcare service in Stockholm will cost you €128.07 on average, which equates to $133.38 and £110.69.
Children for every woman
The fertility rate gives an insight into how many children are born in each destination. This number refers to the number of children per woman in each country.
It seems as though most children are now born in France, with Nice and Paris both having 1.8 children for every woman. This compares to the previous winner, Antalya, where the fertility rate has decreased from 1.88 to 1.76.
Safety index score
Safety is often the main concern when considering where to raise a young family, with new parents wanting to be reassured that their child will be living in a safe environment.
Kyoto in Japan remains the safest city to live in, receiving a safety index score of 85.49.
Pollution index score
Health is also an important factor to consider when choosing where to live, with high pollution levels proving to be detrimental to people’s health.
Helsinki in Finland still has the lowest levels of pollution, receiving a pollution index score of 13.93.
Healthcare index score
Healthcare is a big concern for new parents, both during pregnancy and once the baby has been born.
Nice in France still has the best healthcare services and facilities, receiving a healthcare index score of 86.06.
We analysed 50 global cities on the following seven factors, giving each city a normalised score out of ten for each factor, before taking an average across all seven factors.
Parental leave - taken from OECD data specifying the number of weeks available of paid leave to both new mothers and fathers.
Access to formal early childhood education and care services - taken from OECD data specifying the percentage of children aged 0-2 years old in these services.
Childcare costs - taken from Numbeo and referring to the average monthly cost of sending one child to a private preschool or kindergarten for full days.
Fertility rates - taken from OECD data specifying the total number of children that would be born to each woman if she were to live to the end of her childbearing years and give birth to children in alignment with the prevailing age-specific fertility rates.
Safety index score - taken from Numbeo, combining a range of safety factors as submitted by users in the specified city, including the level of crime and individuals’ worry levels regarding crime.
Pollution index score - taken from Numbeo, combining a range of factors as submitted by users in the specified city, including air quality and water quality.
Healthcare index score - taken from Numbeo, combining a range of factors as submitted by users in the specified city, including the competency of medical staff and waiting times.