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Parenthood | 10 reasons why Singapore is one of the best places to raise a family
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Protecting the young

Singapore is the top-ranked country “where children are least threatened”, according to the 2019 End of Childhood Index. Published by UK charity Save the Children, the study compared data from 176 countries to assess where the most and fewest children are missing out on childhood. Singapore ranked tops, beating eight other Western European nations like Sweden, Finland and Germany to clinch the number 1 ranking. It received extremely low scores for children who are out of school, victims of extreme violence or engaged in labour, as well as for the under-five mortality rate.

Vibrant family living

The city state ranked first in Asia for family life, in the Expat Insider 2019 Family Life Index by the massive expat network InterNations. Singapore also made it into the world’s top ten. Rankings were especially high in subcategories like quality of education (second place) and family-well-being (fourth place). Family well-being is determined based on satisfaction with children’s health, safety, friendly attitudes towards families and available leisure activities for kids. According to the survey, 86 per cent of expat parents are satisfied with their family life in general, versus 79 per cent globally. While the survey was conducted for expat families, it highlights how Singapore is a vibrant, family-friendly destination that attracts people from around the world.

Safe and secure

Most parents would agree that a safe environment is essential for raising little ones. Thankfully, safety is keenly felt in Singapore. The country was named second safest city in the world by The Economist's 2019 Safe Cities Index. Ranking 60 countries across five continents, the index by The Economist Intelligence Unit assesses indicators across four categories: digital, infrastructure, health and personal safety. Singapore particularly excelled in infrastructure and personal security, topping both categories. Indicators for personal security include level of police engagement, political stability risk and effectiveness of the criminal justice system. Infrastructure security was determined by factors like enforcement of transport safety and disaster management plans.

In the pink of health

Another important factor for quality family living is access to good healthcare. And Singapore took second spot for most efficient healthcare system in the world, by the Bloomberg Healthcare Efficiency Index 2018. The index was created to rank nearly 200 countries with average lifespans of over 70 years and a GDP-per-capita exceeding US$5,000. Our country’s efficiency score stood at an impressive 85.6 per cent, marginally losing the top spot to Hong Kong (which scored 87.3 per cent). Life expectancy was also the second highest at 82.7 per cent − a testament to the exemplary standard of local healthcare institutions.

Most liveable city

Let’s face it, who wouldn't want to start a family in a place that has been dubbed “most liveable city in Asia”? That’s precisely what Singapore was awarded by Mercer’s Annual Quality of Living survey 2019. Survey rankings were based on 39 factors, including a country’s political and social environment, consumer goods availability, housing, public services and transport, education, recreation, healthcare and natural environment (for example, record of natural disasters). Mario Ferraro, who leads Mercer’s global mobility practice in Asia, also had encouraging words for Singapore. “It has continuously improved its residents’ standard of living with greater connectivity and sustainability of resources,” he said.

Where learners thrive

When it comes to providing young people with a good education, it’s safe to say that Singapore’s a natural choice. Our tertiary institutions − National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technology University − tied for first place in Asia in the 2020 QS World University Rankings. The prestigious ranking system evaluates institutions based on factors like academic peer review, teaching commitment and employer reputation. Singapore also ranked second in the OECD’s prestigious Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2018, which measures 15-year-olds’ abilities in core subjects like reading, mathematics and science. Additionally, efforts to improve our students’ abilities are being further amped up. From 2020, all upper primary pupils are to take coding enrichment classes to upgrade their skills, enabling them to thrive in a digital economy.

A promising future

Young graduates here can also look forward to excellent career prospects once they join the workforce. The IMD World Talent Ranking 2019 ranked Singapore among the top 10 most competitive places for developing, attracting and retaining talent. The report takes into account investment and development of homegrown talent, which itself is influenced by public expenditure on education, pupil-teacher ratio in primary and secondary schools, as well as the implementation of apprenticeships. Singapore’s high ranking suggests that marketable skills are nurtured even while students are young.

The pursuit of happiness

According to the 2019 World Happiness Report by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Singapore ranked second happiest in the Asian region, and 34th happiest in the world. The report took into account happiness-inducing factors such as GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, perception of freedom, generosity and absence of corruption. In particular, Singapore clinched the top spot among all nations in the healthy life expectancy and absence of corruption categories.

Digital defences

The worldwide web can be a dangerous place, especially for the young and vulnerable. Fortunately, Singapore does a great job in keeping children safe on the internet. The city ranked 4th out of 30 countries in having the best online safety for children. Published by international think tank DQ Institute, the 2020 Child Online Safety Index (Cosi) surveyed more than 145,000 children globally on categories like disciplined digital use, exposure to cyber risks and digital competency. Singapore did especially well in digital competency, with our kids found to be well-equipped with the skills needed to minimise cyber risks.

A giving nation

Not only is Singapore extremely liveable, it’s a society where values like kindness and generosity are encouraged. In fact, it was ranked top 10 in the world in giving by the Charities Aid Foundation’s (CAF) World Giving Index 2018. The index surveyed 146 countries around the world. Respondents were asked whether they helped a stranger, donated money to a charity or volunteered time to an organisation. Our country’s ranking also improved exponentially from past years. We jumped 23 spots from 2017, having been ranked 30th then.