Healthiest Childhoods

The healthiest countries to raise a child in

Giving your child the perfect environment to develop and thrive in is so important, but there are some factors that are somewhat out of your control, such as the healthcare and education systems in place in your country and the availability of health insurance.

These have a huge impact on your little one’s growth and development and unfortunately, not every country around the world is equal when it comes to providing that perfect environment.

So, which nations are best set up to give kids the healthiest life possible? To find out, we’ve analysed 31 developed countries around the world on factors such as access to healthcare, education, vaccinations, and safe drinking water.

The world’s healthiest OECD countries to raise a child

The worlds healthiest OECD countries to raise a child

  1. Australia

    In top spot is Australia, with a score of 7.07 out of 10. Australia scored particularly well for the number of green spaces per million residents, with 88, which was far more than any other country. Australia also has one of the highest life expectancies in the world and enjoys universal health care.

  1. Iceland

    Nordic countries are often held up as having the best quality of life, so it’s perhaps not surprising to see Iceland in second place when it comes to places to raise a child. Iceland was one of just two countries where essentially every person had access to clean drinking water and also had the highest education spending at 7.7% of GDP.

  1. Japan

    Taking third place is Japan, with an overall score of 6.29 out of 10. Japan scored highly on a number of criteria including access to drinking water (98.57%) and average life expectancy, which is one of the highest in the world. The country is often seen as being one of the healthiest in the world, not just because of its excellent healthcare system, but also cultural habits too.

The world’s least healthy OECD countries to raise a child

The worlds least healthy OECD countries to raise a child

  1. Mexico

    Bearing in mind that we’re just looking at developed countries (defined here as OECD members), the least healthy place to raise a child was Mexico. Mexico scored lowly in each of the factors that we looked at, especially when it came to access to safe drinking water, for which it was the lowest-scoring nation, with just 43.03%.

  1. Lithuania

    While Lithuanian citizens enjoy free state-funded healthcare, the country was the second-lowest in our ranking, scoring poorly on a number of factors, including the number of green spaces, life expectancy, and the number of hospitals per million people.

  1. Estonia

    Another Baltic country takes third place for least healthy, with Estonia scoring marginally higher than neighbouring Lithuania. Again, while Estonia is a healthy country in some ways, such as offering universal healthcare, it scored badly for several factors, such as the number of hospitals per million people and had the lowest rate of childhood vaccination.

Methodology

We chose to look just at developed nations for this research, using countries that are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
For each country and based on latest available data, we gave a normalised score out of ten on each of the following factors, before taking an average across all six scores.
Hospitals
The number of hospitals per million people according to OECD.Stat.
Green spaces
The number of green spaces per million people listed on Tripadvisor. Population figures sourced from World Bank.
Child vaccination rate
The percentage of children vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and measles according to OECD. Note that the figures shown are an average of the rates of vaccination for both diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, and measles.
Life expectancy
The average life expectancy at birth according to OECD.
Access to drinking water
The percentage of the population using safely managed drinking-water services according to the World Health Organization’s Global Health Observatory.
Education spending
The percentage of each country’s GDP that is spent on education, according to the World Bank.

Brought to you by the health insurance experts at comparethemarket.com.au.