Expats really DO have the good life: It's safer, cheaper and schools are better abroad


Families who have escaped Britain to live abroad have a better quality of life, according to a major survey of the ‘expat’ lifestyle.

The findings will strike a chord with millions of families in the UK struggling with soaring bills, sky-high house prices, pollution, traffic congestion and the battle to find a good school.

Those who have fled said they believed their children were enjoying ‘the good life’. Typically, the schools are better, children are safer and life is cheaper.

Expats supporting England at the Ashes Test match against Australia. The survey asked over 4,000 people in 100 countries about their lifestyles

Expats supporting England at the Ashes Test match against Australia. The survey asked over 4,000 people in 100 countries about their lifestyles

And the best chance of a happy family life is to move to Belgium, which was ranked the top place to live by expats.

Britain was ranked at the bottom of the league by foreign families living in this country.

They said it is ‘one of the most expensive’ places to raise a child and they think their offspring are ‘less safe’ than in their ‘home’ country. These families also believe that their children live a ‘less active’ lifestyle, spending less time outdoors, playing less sport and spending more time watching television.

In one of the largest surveys of its kind, more than 4,100 people living in 100 countries were asked questions about their lifestyle.

Subjects ranged from the cost of childcare, the amount of junk food children ate and whether they missed their ‘home’ friends.

For each question in the three categories – childcare, health and wellbeing, and integration – parents were asked to compare their lifestyle in their ‘new’ country with their life in their ‘home’ country.

Based on their scores, a league table of 14 countries was drawn up where at least 30 families had responded. All other countries were excluded.

Family graphic

Family graphic

Overall, parents living in Britain said that they did not think their childrens’ quality of life had improved.

One expat living in Britain said: ‘I find everything in the UK quite expensive and the standard of education poor.

‘I’m lucky that my son is able to get into a private school with a scholarship, otherwise I would not be able to afford it.’

The expat added: ‘The food here is poor.’

By comparison, a family in Belgium described it as ‘great fun and not to be missed for anything in the world’.

Pugh funny

The education is better than in their ‘home’ country, the childcare is cheaper and better and their children are learning a new language and find it easy to integrate with their new friends, the family said.

One expat said: ‘It has provided the opportunity to build a career and hence financial security for my family. It has been mind-opening and enjoyable.’

In many cases, the poll by banking giant HSBC International found, British expats have ‘a greater sense of community’ than they do in their ‘home’ country.

For many, this is because they live in secure expat communities, for example in Asia and the Middle East.

However, life is not always perfect for the estimated 1.1million retired Britons living overseas.

Campaigners yesterday complained that while those in some countries see their State pension raised every year, those in others do not.

About 500,000 British pensioners are thought to be affected by the ‘frozen’ pension problem in about 150 countries including Canada, Australia and South Africa.

However, life is not always perfect for the estimated 1.1million retired Britons living overseas.

Campaigners yesterday complained that while those in some countries see their State pension raised every year, those in others do not.

About 500,000 British pensioners are thought to be affected by the ‘frozen’ pension problem in about 150 countries including Canada, Australia and South Africa.

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