Why is Sweden one of the best places to raise a family?

A Unicef report shows that Sweden is one of the top places in the world to raise a family, but that there's still plenty of room for improvement.

Catherine Edwards
Catherine Edwards NewsMavens, Sweden
Why is Sweden one of the best places to raise a family? - NewsMavens
Father holding and kissing a child. Pexels

Why this story matters:

The report ranked 31 wealthy countries using parameters including parental leave allowances, childcare enrollment levels, and breastfeeding rates.

In Sweden, almost all under-six-year olds attend the country's well-subsidized daycare centers (called 'dagis') and parental leave is generous, with 480 days of paid leave to be split between two primary caregivers per child as they choose, and three months of that reserved for each parent.

But the report stressed that no country performed consistently well across all categories, showing that even at the top there is room for improvement when it comes to childcare policy. 

Details from the story:

  • The five lowest ranked countries overall were  Switzerland, Greece, Cyprus, the UK and Ireland.
  • It's not just the length of the allowances that count, but policies are needed to ensure it is utilized. Japan was number one for paternity leave, with 30.4 weeks available but largely untaken, and although in Sweden parents are encouraged to split leave 50:50, in practice the majority is still taken by women.
  • 97 percent of Swedish children under 6 attend daycare, and 51 percent of under-threes.
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