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What are the best countries in the world in which to raise children?

There are many rankings that suggest which are the best countries in the world to live in. However, if you have children in tow, the factors to consider are probably very different. 

The quality of education, the availability of green spaces in residential neighbourhoods, the safety of those neighbourhoods, but also what and how parental leave is in place in that particular country. Unicef has carried out many studies on the subject, although it often focuses only on the rich countries of the world. In any case, they can already be a very good general indicator useful for families who want to expatriate or change countries to live in.

The BBC has collected some of these studies, and compiled a ranking of the five best countries in the world to move to if you have children.

What are the best countries in the world in which to raise children?
There are many rankings that suggest which are the best countries in the world to live in. However, if you have children in tow, the factors to consider are probably very different. The quality of education, the availability of green spaces in residential neighbourhoods, the safety of those neighbourhoods, but also what and how parental leave is in place in that particular country. Unicef has carried out many studies on the subject, although it often focuses only on the rich countries of the world. In any case, they can already be a very good general indicator useful for families who want to expatriate or change countries to live in. The BBC has collected some of these studies, and compiled a ranking of the five best countries in the world to move to if you have children.
Viaggio FRoutard - Flickr.com
Japan (pictured: Tokyo)
Japan, perhaps the most 'western' of the Asian countries, ranks first in the world for child health. Moreover, according to Unicef data reported and taken into account by the BBC, it ranks second for the 'world around the child', a category that includes aspects such as urban green space and traffic safety. Japan also has the lowest child obesity rate and a low infant mortality rate. Furthermore, the overall homicide rate in Japan is the lowest of all countries surveyed by Unicef: at 0.2 per 100,000, it is a fraction of that of the United States (5.3), Canada (1.8) and even Australia (0.8).
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Japan (pictured: Kyoto)
Children's autonomy is also at a very high level. The country's security means that children as young as six can go to school on their own, even in the centre of Tokyo. As if that were not enough, Japan also has one of the best education systems on the planet, ranking 12th among 76 nations and regions, according to OECD assessments from which Unicef drew its data. Much progress is also being made with regard to parental leave for fathers, something that is often underestimated in many countries.
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Spain (pictured: Valencia)
Spain is not a perfect country, and in fact is slightly poor in terms of social, educational and health services, but at the level of children's lives it is one of the best in the world. In fact, according to Unicef data, Iberian children enjoy a very high general well-being: the country ranks third for children's mental well-being and fourth for basic school and social skills. More specifically, it is on a par with Holland for the number of children who say they make friends easily (81%), while the teenage suicide rate is one of the lowest among rich countries and less than a third of that of the United States, Canada, Australia or New Zealand.
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Spain (pictured: Barcelona)
In Spain it is normal to see families with children going everywhere, to restaurants, bars, parks, even at quite late hours of the evening. The people are tolerant of childhood, and do not create any particular problems, making it a very healthy environment for both parents and children. Very extensive parental leave is granted to a very large segment of the population.
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Estonia (pictured: Tallinn)
Estonia is a special place because, despite not being at the top of the Unicef rankings, it stands out in some respects: children have to put up with less air pollution, less noise pollution and fewer pesticides than almost any other rich country. Estonia also has more urban green spaces than many other nations, including the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. Antenatal care is also excellent, as the country also has the second lowest rate of babies born underweight of all rich countries.
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Estonia (pictured: Tallinn)
The education system is also highly developed, with children safely learning how to come into contact with robots, tablets and technology in general as early as kindergarten. As if this were not enough, a recent OECD report showed that the average Estonian child (aged five) is better than those in the US and England in various social-emotional skills, including cooperation with other children and identification of emotions.
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Finland
According to Unicef rankings, quoted by the BBC, Finland ranks very high in two different categories: first in 'world of the child' (which looks at the impact of the environment on children, such as air quality) and second in 'world around the child' (which looks at the elements of the environment a child lives and grows up with, such as schools, traffic and green spaces).
Francesco Sisti - Flickr.com
Finland (pictured: Tampere)
BBC interviewed a British father of five living in Finland. Children growing up in the country have the best results in the world in terms of literary and mathematical knowledge, as well as a diverse educational landscape. The infant mortality rate between the ages of 5 and 14 is one of the lowest in the world, less than half that of the US. Furthermore, a wonderful thing is the amount of green space, even in Helsinki, as Finland has more urban green space per capita than any other 'first world' nation.
By Moyan Brenn from Italy - Flickr, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40605
Netherlans (pictured: Amsterdam)
According to Unicef data, the Netherlands performs very well in terms of children's mental health (ranked first) and skills (ranked third). Nine out of 10 15-year-olds say they are very satisfied with their lives, the highest percentage of all countries surveyed by Unicef, and eight out of 10 say they make friends easily. The BBC interviewed a Polish mother living in the Netherlands, and she speaks of less pressure on children than, for example, in North America, where everyone is taught to be exceptional.
By Camillo Granchelli - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9958
Netherlands
Moreover, the Netherlands' welfare is one of the best in the world, with the state offering great support to families with children. Specifically, there are 16 weeks of compulsory and fully paid maternity leave and up to six weeks of paid paternity leave, as well as unpaid parental leave that can be taken until the child turns eight.
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