Thursday, June 24, 2010

Is Australia the best place to raise children?

This HSBC report ranks Australia as the best place to raise children for expats. IN fact, the media release suggest that the Expatriate Survey reveals the expats ‘say Australia is the best place in the world to raise children’. What it doesn’t do is justify that claim.

The report is based on a sample of 30 respondents from each country and they are asked to compare the various factors about raising children, such as child care costs, amount of junk food eaten, and time spent playing outdoors, with what occurred in their home country.

This may be interesting, but it is no way to rank a country’s performance. Without knowing the country of origin of the expats it is impossible to make a controlled comparison. For example, if the majority of expats in the sample living in Australia are from the UK, and the majority of expats living in the US are from Australia, we get a nonsense conclusion that Australia is the best country (because the difference between the UK and Australia is highest), even if the US is ranked in preference to Australia.

The rankings are the result of the difference between the country of origin and the new country without knowing the country of origin. The way to be highest ranked is to have the most expats from much poorer countries so that the positive change experienced is greatest.

Don’t misunderstand me. Australia probably is one of the better countries to raise children and could easily be the ‘best’ out of the comparison countries (UK, US, Singapore, UAE, Hong Kong). But this report is a classic example of how conclusions do not match the facts presented.

You don’t have to look far to find other cross-country comparisons of family well-being with utterly unsurprising results.

No comments:

Post a Comment