A survey carried out in January 2015 by MumAbroad.com has revealed that almost half (49%) of expat mothers plan never to return to their home country. A questionnaire was sent to 650 mothers from the international community currently living in Spain, France, Italy and Germany, most of whose children were under 16 years old.
Overall, mothers ranked quality of life (62%) better in their adopted countries than in their native home. Significantly education was perceived as worse (32.23%) as were children’s activities (38%) and children’s services (35%).
As far as health and education was concerned, exactly half of women surveyed (50%) said that they had given birth in their adopted country to all their children and 85% said that the experience was a positive one. The lack of natural birth options and few midwives was cited as a negative, particularly for mothers living in Spain.
Most children living with either one or two foreign parents attended a local school (61%), just under a third went to an international school (31%) and the remainder to state subsidised schools or were home-schooled.
When it comes to integration in the local community, only half said that they felt that they were well integrated, citing language as the main reason that held them back.
When asked the reasons for moving abroad most moved for love (44%) whilst just over 22% relocated for work reasons.
Over half (51%)of those questioned had bought a property abroad were home-owners, a third worked full time and nearly three quarters of women (74%) were married .
“This is the first survey of its kind in Europe, solely focusing on mothers from the international community” comments Carrie Frais, co-founder of MumAbroad.com “I think it is significant that such a high percentage of those interviewed are opting to stay in their chosen country for the long-term, despite some concerns over local education systems. It seems that a good health system and excellent quality of life are overriding factors and enough to deter many of us from returning home. We believe that we will see increasing numbers of ‘lifestyle migrants’ choosing to live in European countries which offer these benefits as travelling between different cities becomes easier and working remotely becomes more popular”