These Are the Best Cities in the World to Raise a Family, Report Says

One US city made it into the top 25. Can you guess which and why?
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By Wyndi Kappes, Associate Editor
Updated April 22, 2024
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Image: Ekaterina Pokrovsky | Shutterstock

Countries around the world continue to make headlines for their family and child-centric legislation. Whether it’s six months of paid parental leave in Australia or South Korean firms giving employees up to $75,000 in child bonuses, its easy to see the big benefits that can come from raising a child abroad.

A new study sought to discern which cities across the world offer the most benefits for families overall. The research, conducted by Compare The Market Australia, looked at 12 different child and family-friendly factors to determine where over 38 international cities ranked from best to worst. Key factors included things such as a city’s safety, the number of kid-friendly activities, green spaces to explore, childcare availability and education opportunities.

At the top of the list is Stockholm, Sweden, with a 6.57/10 score. Sweden boasted high scores when it came to government money spent on education and family benefits, parental leave, access to green spaces and overall country happiness. Its only weakness—it’s a bit lacking in child-friendly activities.

In second place by a small margin is Paris, France, which was only beaten out by 0.02. In Paris, parents can count on having plenty of kid-friendly activities, prime walkability and government-subsidized family benefits—including the longest combined parental leave at 312 weeks. Paris’ high prices and general lack of affordable housing kept it from taking the top spot.

Rounding out the top three is Tokyo, Japan, which scored 6.41/10. The Japanese city is a safe bustling metropolis, having lots of parks and green spaces to explore. The modern city had the fifth-best safety score and the eighth largest number of family-friendly activities. However, Japan also tallied a lower happiness score due to its intense work culture and overall issues with loneliness and isolation.

Down in 22nd place sits the only US city to make it into the top 25—New York, New York. New York City sports high scores when it comes to educational opportunities and family-friendly activities but low safety scores, a high cost of living and a nationwide lack of paid parental leave, leaves the Big Apple lower down on the list.

Overall the Top 25 Countries for Families Include:

  1. Stockholm
  2. Paris
  3. Tokyo
  4. Sydney
  5. Helsinki
  6. Auckland
  7. Brussels
  8. Amsterdam
  9. Vienna
  10. Santiago
  11. Melbourne
  12. Copenhagen
  13. Frankfurt
  14. Madrid
  15. London
  16. Barcelona
  17. Osaka
  18. Zurich
  19. Wellington
  20. Istanbul
  21. Seoul
  22. New York
  23. Johannesburg
  24. New Delhi
  25. Toronto

It’s important to note that this study isn’t all-encompassing, and for many parents, the true value of where they reside lies in their community, their past and what may be feasible for their finances at the time. Remember that wherever you’re raising your child, you are doing your best!

For a detailed breakdown of how the cities were scored and to see all 38 cities and their rank, check out the full online report.

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