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Not the US, says study

From recent graduates to wealthy professionals, many Brits are considering moving abroad these days.

And the motivating force for many is clear: money.

Over half of British workers (52%) have considered leaving the United Kingdom for better working opportunities abroad, according to the British human resources website Employer News.

Others are in search of affordable housing and lower taxes, it said, citing research from London-based financial services company Prograd.

But contemplating moving abroad, and actually doing it, are very different things, especially for parents, who must consider if the grass is greener abroad — with the whole family in mind.  

According to the expat insurance company Williams Russell, countries in the European Union are the best bet for Brits looking to leave the UK — with Portugal, Sweden, Italy, Spain and Finland topping the list.

But the United States — often referred to as Britain’s “cousin” — comes in dead last in the ranking of 28 countries, dragged down by high childcare costs and long work hours.

Averaging $2,793 per month for a three-bedroom apartment, rent in the United States is higher than every country on the list, but for Switzerland ($3,281) and Ireland ($2,830), according to Williams Russell.

The company relied on user-generated data website Numbeo to determine country-wide rental averages, estimating Brits will pay about 34% more in rent to live in the U.S. than their home country.

The U.S. also takes a hit for being the only country on the list without federally mandated paid maternity and paternity leave.

However, 13 states and the District of Columbia have paid family leave laws on the books, including New York, New Jersey, California, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington state, according to the not-for-profit Bipartisan Policy Center.

Workers may also want to check their employment benefits. In 2023, nearly 40% of management and professional occupations were entitled to paid family leave, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics.

UK vs. U.S. universities

British families with older children may be swayed by the number of top universities in the U.S. At 97, the United States has more than Germany (34), Italy (19), Australia (17) and Canada (16) combined.  

However, American universities typically cost more than those in the United Kingdom, according to education company Kings Education.

Tuition fees for British citizens are capped at 9,250 British pounds ($15,950) per year. Comparatively, the cost to attend university in the U.S. varies wildly by school. Private universities are often more expensive than public ones, and out-of-state students pay more than in-state students, as a general rule.

For Brits looking for a ballpark figure to attend college in America, “International students can expect to pay up to $45,000 a year to study a bachelor’s degree at a public university, and up to $55,000 a year or more at some private institutions,” according to Kings Education.

American university costs have risen precipitously in the past few decades — a trend which has slowed since the pandemic.

Eight schools, including New York University, Tufts, Brown and Yale, are nearing the $100,00-per-year mark for tuition and living costs; however families often find ways to pay far less.