Just In Time For Mother’s Day, New Data Shows The U.S. Is One Of The Worst Places To Have A Baby

Having a baby is a life-changing commitment, and the country you have your baby in and the opportunities they provide (or lack thereof) can help or hinder your experience. That’s why cardboard box manufacturers RAJA UK, who support workplace equality for women in a male-dominated industry, wanted to explore the impacts having a family has on working mothers. From paid maternity and paternity leave to the cost of birth and childcare, they investigated various metrics and uncovered the best and worst countries to consider moving to when thinking about having a baby. 

The best and worst countries to move to when considering having a baby  

Whether you’re factoring in the cost of the birth, the cost of childcare, or the amount of paid maternity or paternity leave, the country you choose to have a baby in can massively impact your quality of life, particularly when it comes to child custody. With the way the global pandemic has exacerbated the impact of parenthood in exponential ways, this data comes at an important time as more and more people are analyzing the costs of starting a family while also balancing careers. RAJA UK collated important information about countries to consider (or perhaps avoid) when starting to plan for your family.  

Best countries  

  1. Japan  
  • Japan not only offers the second-highest number of paid maternity leave (36 weeks), but it also provides the most paid paternity leave, giving fathers 30.5 weeks to spend with their new baby. Japan offers over 20 days more than Sweden, which comes second on the list of most paid paternity leave.  
  • Childcare costs in Japan are relatively low, costing just £455 a month.  
  • Single parents in Japan can also expect a 16% match of their full-time earnings to go towards child-rearing.  
  • That said, surrogacy is illegal in Japan which prevents couples who are struggling to reproduce from exploring other options.  
  1. Germany  
  • Germany provides the most paid maternity leave on the list with women getting 43 weeks paid leave. The amount of paternity leave in Germany is the third-highest on the list with 5.7 paid weeks off.  
  • Single parents in Germany can receive up to 28% of average full-time earnings for child benefits, which is the highest on the list.  
  • Cost of birth in Germany may be a maximum of £351 a month if you have state-funded insurance.  
  1. Sweden  
  • Sweden comes third on the list of most paid maternity leave, at 35 weeks. They also rank second on the list for paid paternity leave, offering fathers 10.9 weeks off.  
  • Single parents in Sweden can receive up to 16% of average full-time earnings for child benefits.  
  1. Netherlands  
  • Single parents in the Netherlands can receive up to 16% of average full-time earnings for child benefits.  
  • However, childcare costs here are the second-highest on the list and will set you back £1,600 per month.  
  • Altruistic surrogacy is legal in the Netherlands, meaning it is possible to have a child via surrogacy while reimbursing her for the costs associated with bearing the child. Commercial surrogacy is illegal. 
  1. UK  
  • The United Kingdom provides 12 weeks of paid maternity leave for expectant mothers but only 0.4 weeks of paid paternity leave. 
  • Altruistic surrogacy is legal in the UK and the woman can be paid up to £25,000 to cover expenses and the cost of having the child. Commercial surrogacy is illegal in the UK.  
  • Single parents in the UK can receive up to 20% of average full-time earnings for child benefits, making this the second-highest benefit-paying country on the list. 

Worst countries  

  1. Switzerland  
  • Switzerland only offers 8 weeks of paid maternity leave and has no paid paternity leave.  
  • The cost of childcare is the highest on the list, setting you back £2,179 per month.  
  • Cost of birth can also run high, averaging £5,620 for a C-section delivery.  
  1. United States of America   
  • The US is one of the worst countries to become a parent in. It provides no paid maternity or paternity leave for parents.  
  • With a C-section setting you back around £11,240 and a natural birth around £8,391, it’s also the most expensive country to give birth in. 
  • However, it is the only country where commercial surrogacy is legal, where compensation for a surrogate can go up to £97,679.  
  • Single parents in the US can only receive up to 1% of average full-time earnings for child benefits.  

Where you decide to have and raise your children can impact the rest of your life (and theirs). Making sure you get the best start to parenthood based on the opportunities available in each country can help ensure you and your child have a happy and healthy future. 


All local prices were converted to pounds, with all research carried out in February/March 2022  

Cost of Child Care metric is based on preschool prices for one child to attend monthly.  

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