If you’re considering a move to the USA with your children, chances are, like many, you’re emigrating for a fantastic job opportunity. As of 2018, the USA ranks third in the world in terms of income after Luxembourg and Switzerland. The average wage taken home in the USA sits at $58,700 (£45,400) per year. Furthermore, should you be moving for a management-level position, you can expect to earn up to six times the average! This could mean taking home as much as $382,200 (£282,600) per year for certain roles, which will certainly improve life for your family!
Another factor attracting expats to the USA is that property remains very affordable. According to Zillow, the average property price in the USA is currently $217,300 (£168,000), which is considerably less than the current average UK price of £226,350.
The 2018 US News and World Report’s annual Best Countries rankings found the USA is the 8th best country in the world to raise children. When you factor in other bonuses like excellent education, incredible culture and some of the best natural scenery in the world, you can start to understand the lure of the USA.
The average property price in the USA is currently $217,300 (£168,000), which is considerably less than the current average UK price of £226,350.
Is the USA the right choice for my children?
It would be remiss to discuss the USA right now and not question whether it is in fact a safe option for you and your family. If a move to the USA with your children is on the cards, it’s possible you could drive yourself crazy watching the news. So, is the USA a safe choice? Overall, national crime rates are lower than they have been in the US historically. In addition, violent crime has dropped by 50% between 1993 and 2016. According to safewise.com, a home security system-ranking website, these are the 50 safest places to raise children in the USA in 2018. The best performing states are New Hampshire, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Maryland, Connecticut and Virginia.
If you’re moving to the USA with your children, school shootings will of course be a huge concern. According to a report conducted at Northeastern University, while it may seem like they occur all the time, in actual fact these types of awful events remain rare and have been in decline since the 1990s. There are a couple of steps that you can take when choosing a school to protect your child. Always assess security levels on campus. Also, make sure that they have an active shooter plan in place and that they conduct regular drills so that students are prepared should the worst happen. In addition, it’s important to establish what procedures are in place for reporting concerns about fellow pupils.
What can we look forward to as a family?
There are a lot of things to look forward to when you move to the USA with your family. The county offers an excellent quality of life. The 10th best in the world in fact, according to the latest findings by Numbeo. This is a nation famous the world over for its culture and entertainment. No doubt your children will love visiting Universal Studios, Disney and talking a walk along the Hollywood Walk of Fame. When it comes to theme parks and water parks – there’s really no better location than the USA.
If you are an active family, America’s great outdoors will be another huge lure. There are an incredible 58 national parks in the USA for you and your family to explore. If you love camping, hiking and cycling you will be spoilt for choice. You’ll be able to ski, snowboard, rock climb, canoe, kayak, white water raft…the list of ways to spend your weekends and summer holidays is endless. Should your child wish to become an elite athlete, the USA is one of the best places to train. If that all sounds too much like hard-work, remember that the USA has some of the world’s best beaches. Furthermore, there are great surf breaks, scuba diving and snorkelling spots and places to fish. The country’s location also makes holidays to Canada, Central America and the Caribbean wonderful, and affordable, options.
Can my children come with me?
If you are moving to the USA with your children for employment, chances are you will be on an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa, an L-1A and L-1B Intracompany transfer or an H-1B visa. As long as your child is under 21 and unmarried, you can bring them with you to the USA. They will be able to attend school, but whether or not they are able to work will depend upon the category of visa you hold.
For a detailed explanation of how you can protect your protect budget from currency risk, read the Property Buyer’s Guide to Currency. It is written by our currency partner Smart Currency Exchange, rated “Excellent” on Trustpilot.
How to ease the transition for your children?
Moving to another country is a big upheaval, so it’s important that you include your children in your decision. Always communicate your reasons for deciding to move, and the ways that your quality of life will improve by relocating.
Before you go
It’s important to involve your kids in the moving process. There are a number of ways that you can make the move easier on your little ones. First off, get them excited about their new country by encouraging them to research what’s in store. Looking at the country’s landscape, wildlife, activities and events you will be able to attend will let them know what to expect, and get them excited for their arrival.
The more your child knows about what’s ahead, the more reassured they will be. Show them photos of your new property, town or city, and involve them in the process of choosing their own school. Fortunately, a lot of schools have excellent websites now. Your child will be able to look at pictures and read all about the activities and clubs available to them when they start.
It’s important to involve your kids in the moving process.
While your children are researching what there is to do in their new home town, suggest they identify some places they’d like to visit when you arrive. Perhaps it’s a theme park or a particular beach. Maybe they really want to try typical American foods or try their hand at a new activity. Having some fun scheduled into the calendar will mean they are excited for their arrival, and will hopefully ease the sadness of having to say goodbye to friends and family.
When you arrive
As much as we lament its existence, the internet is a wonderful help to those making an international move. Try and get online as soon as possible. This way, your children will be able to reach out to friends back home via Skype, Facetime and WhatsApp. Hearing news from back home and being able to communicate how they are feeling with people they care about will work wonders. We suggest scheduling in regular times to speak to friends and family so that you don’t leave it too long in between chats.
The US education system
In the USA, federal and state property taxes fund the public (free) education system. Each student will start in Kindergarten at the age of 4-5 and progress through to High School. Children can legally leave school when they reach 18. Currently, 70% of students go on to higher education. Of the Top 10 universities in the world, eight are located in the USA. Furthermore, according to a recent study conducted by the Universities 21 network of universities, which examined the higher education systems of fifty countries, the USA comes out on top.
The best international schools in the USA
Should your child wish to return to the UK to attend university, they may opt to study for an International Baccalaureate Diploma at one of the USAs International Schools. Here are three of the best…
United Nations International School, New York City
Pupils – Mixed school, Kindergarten to Year 12 (17-18 years old)
Alumni – Jennifer Grey (Dirty Dancing), Qubilah Shabazz (the daughter of Malcolm X) and Vasili Tsereteli (Director of the Moscow Museum of Modern Art).
The United Nations International School (UNIS) was originally set up to educate the children of UN employees. This was one of the founding schools of the International Baccalaureate (IB), and languages are, as you would expect, top priority. While children of UN workers are prioritised, it is not essential. The school offers a tolerant, diverse environment, with a focus on individual responsibility and developing values.
So you know the schools are good but what about American healthcare? Download our brand new guide, Healthcare Abroad 2018
Metropolitan International School of Miami, Florida
Pupils: Mixed school, ages five to 14.
The Met focuses on nurturing its pupils, building self-esteem and creativity. The school’s mantra is ‘healthy mind in a healthy body. Your children will be able to enjoy daily exercise and locally-sourced organic food provided by in-house chefs. Focus is on providing a globally-focused education with emphasis on science, technology, engineering and maths. Art and music also play a key role in their ‘vigorous’ curriculum.
International School of Los Angeles – Lycée International, California
Pupils: Mixed school, pre-school to 12th grade.
Fees: $19,000 – $22,475 (£14,690-£17,370) per year + registration and supplies fees.
Since its 1978 inception, where it had just seven pupils, the International School of Los Angeles now has five campuses and over 1,000 students. Due to its founders, the curriculum is based around the French Curriculum, but students study for the International Baccalaureate. The school is ‘committed to academic excellent in a nurturing and intimate environment that encourages personal initiative, creativity and curiosity.’