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Is the U.S. one of the best — or worst — places to raise a family?

What country is the second worst place in the world to raise a family?

Well, out of 35 countries in this new study from travel website Asher & Lyric, the United States came in at No. 34. Yep, not dead last (thank you Mexico?) but wow...not good. The study only looked at OECD countries, but it's still interesting (and discouraging for those in the U.S.).

Asher and Lyric gathered critical statistics from 30 trusted international sources to create the Raising a Family Index.” The locations were rated on factors related to:

  • safety: which measures the overall safety of a country as it relates to raising a family
  • happiness: which measures the overall happiness in a country as it relates to raising a family
  • cost: which measures the cost to raise a family in each country
  • health: which measures the healthcare systems and health-related environmental factors as it relates to raising a family
  • education: which measures the quality of education in a country
  • time: which measures the amount of time that parents have to spend with kids

The top 10 countries for raising a family according to this study:

  1. Iceland
  2. Norway
  3. Sweden
  4. Finland
  5. Luxembourg
  6. Denmark
  7. Germany
  8. Austria
  9. Belgium
  10. Czech Republic

Check out this article for their detailed findings on why the U.S. rated so poorly. One of the authors really struggled with this data upon first glance but after further reflection and inquiry, realized that this is an "accurate" set of data that needs to be considered. Some of those revealing statistics about the U.S. are that:

  • The U.S. gets an F in the cost section, ranking last.
  • Families in the United States spend approximately 23% of their combined average annual income on childcare alone.
  • One in five Americans experience a mental health disorder, such as depression or anxiety, each year. The suicide rate among Americans has increased by 33% between 1999 and 2017.
  • There are 6.12 homicides per 100,000 people in America (only Mexico has a worse rate).
  • Six in 10 (approximately 197 million) Americans suffer from one incurable chronic disease. Four in 10 suffer from two or more.
  • Massachusetts — the “best” state in America for public education — has a meager 49% of eighth graders scoring proficient or above in reading exams.
  • America ranks by far worst for “time to be able to spend with family," getting a solid F.

There is a lot to unpack in all of the data, and COVID-19's emergence is likely to impact the next ratings, particularly in the areas of safety and health.

As if things couldn’t get worse. According to a new study from the travel website Asher & Lyric, the United States is the second worst place in the world to raise a family. The country came in at a shockingly low 34th place out of 35 countries, only beating out crime-ridden Mexico. Topping the list of best places to raise a family were countries like Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland (which was recently named the happiest country in the world for the third year in a row).


global mobility, international relocation, expatriate assignment, countries, wellbeing, families, quality of life, health, cost, saftey, happiness, education, time, iceland, raising a family index, asher & lyric, oecd countries