From changing diapers and wiping tears to running errands and paying the bills, raising a family is no easy feat. And it seems that challenge is made all the more difficult if you live in the United States.
The US has been named the worst country to parent in, according to an Expert Market report that reveals the most powerful country in the world is also the worst location in which to raise a family, followed by Mexico, Costa Rica and Canada.
Two lists released reveal both the top 10 best, and worst, countries for work-life balance for growing families and parents, with Finland, Estonia, and Austria claiming the top three slots.
Parental woes: An Expert Market report revealed the United States as the worst country to raise children, with a lack of paid vacation and short maternity leaves to blame
The American dream? Parents are crushed to learn that the US, followed by Mexico, Costa Rica and Canada, are the worst countries to maintain a healthy work-life balance
Meanwhile the US, Mexico and Costa Rica were deemed the worst.
The research’s chosen countries were those that performed poorly on the work-life balance bar, which was based on no guaranteed paid vacation and scant maternity and paternity leave opportunities.
The report took four major points into account in their 37-country analysis including average annual work hours, the number of law-permitted paid leave working days and total paid leave for mothers, and paid leave for fathers, using data pulled from The World Bank and The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
The United States, although announced as the seventh best country to live in in the world back in March 2017, sunk to the bottom of the work-life balance list thanks to the culpable Fair Labor Standards Act, which does not require employers to provide paid vacation.
Adding to the blow, the US also lacks statutory paid leave for mothers and fathers, making parenting hard to plan for and dependent on the work environment.
Dad duty: Adult duties of tending to children and paying the bills at the same time are deemed the most difficult in the US, but the most feasible in Finland, Estonia, and Austria
On top! A strong contrast from the US ranking is Finland, which wins the top spot as best country to raise a family in thanks to highly paid annual leave and long maternity leaves
On the flip side, Finland won the top spot for best country to manage a parent work-life balance thanks to a highly salaried annual leave. Estonia followed in second place with the best paid maternity leave, providing full pay for up to 85 weeks. Austria followed in third place with an average 51.2 weeks of paid maternity leave.
In contrast, the US averages just 2.8 weeks on regular salary for maternity leave, according to a report by the Independent.
Following on the winning list for best countries to live in is France, Germany, Sweden, Japan, Norway, Luxembourg, and Slovakia.
Japan and Norway are unique as the only winners that are not EU affiliated. Japan’s ranked a top score for paid leave for fathers offering a substantial 30.4 weeks. Norway followed for low average working hours.
As for the losers list, Chile, Israel, Turkey, Ireland, New Zealand and Switzerland followed the US for poor parent work-life lifestyles.