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Old 08-22-2012, 11:34 PM
 
Location: Atlanta, GA
164 posts, read 344,041 times
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I am trying to gauge the difference between raising children in Toronto vs Minneapolis/Atlanta. I understand the American side well enough to be dangerous. I really need some help on the Canadian side (specifically Toronto) since my Canadian wife seems to state what other people tell her as fact, which I realize upon further research are not entirely true. In the next few years, me (American) and my wife (Canadian) are planning to have children and will probably end up in Atlanta, Minneapolis, or Toronto. We are both college educated and we both plan to work; so we should have a middle-class standard of living. We have strong connections to Toronto, Atlanta, and Minneapolis, so any anecdotal stories from these areas would be most appreciated.

There are plenty of arguments depending on specific situations as to which city would be the best place to raise children and every local person will have their own bias. What would be most appreciated is actual facts and figures so I can try to determine to the best of my knowledge, what would be the best for me and my wife if we have a choice. I am less concerned with subjective issues such as weather, nearby attractions, etc. unless there is a financial implication.

From what I understand, in Canada, the provincial healthcare system will pick up the tab for child birth for anyone with a provincial health card. In the United States it depends on your situation. Generally, if you are on a government or employer health plan you probably have decent coverage and may owe nothing. If not, it will probably cost a lot to have a child, at least that is what I have been told. My wife has a very negative view of American healthcare system for giving birth because when she was employed as a residency students at a public university in Minnesota, another residents wife needed an emergency C-section surgery that cost $10K; but my wife was not able to tell me the healthcare insurance coverage the university provided to the residents and my wife was covered under my employers health insurance plan at the time, which probably provided better child-birth coverage. My guess is that the university provided minimal healthcare insurance coverage to the residents or they were not covered at all, because I thought that C-section surgeries were routinely done in the USA to reduce malpractice lawsuit risk. Anyways, from my limited knowledge, it appears that having children in Canada is typically cheaper than in the USA.

As for maternity leave, in most Canadian provinces, mothers are entitled to 15 weeks of paid maternity leave at 55 percent of their salary, capped at $485 a week. An additional 35 weeks of paid parental leave can be shared with the father. In the United States, only if you have been employed for 12 months at a large company with more than 50 employees are you entitled to 12 weeks off, and it is unpaid. Most U.S. companies don’t voluntarily offer paid maternity leave, but some allow you save PPO time that you can rollover for this purpose. So on paper, Canada probably wins here also.

As for daycare, I have heard that Canada offers both private and subsidized daycare centers. However, there can be long waits to get into a subsidized facility, and the subsidy is based on income. I don’t believe that childcare is subsidized in the USA. Many times a family member will help out or one of the two parents will not work, especially if there are a lot of infants in the household, because those rates are super high. So without facts and figures and assuming that we would not qualify for a subsidy I would have to say that daycare is going to be expensive in Canada and the USA.

This is just my generalization, that there are at least a few good public schools to choose from in every large city. However, it would generally be more expensive to live in a good school district in Toronto then Atlanta or Minneapolis because of the high price of property in Toronto. It is also easier to buy a large home with a yard in the United States. Our preference to raise children in an affordable home with a yard and a nice public school system is more likely to happen in the United States.

Another item to consider is that most everything other than healthcare is usually cheaper in the United States, so raising children that are already healthy would seem to be cheaper in the United States. College would appear to be a toss-up. I know that in the USA, they have college savings plans that you can put tax-free money in. Also, most public universities/colleges are still affordable to in-state residents. Ontario public university tuition seems to be on par with what I saw in Minnesota and Georgia.

Some consideration should also be given to changes in the law in the United States and Canada. Some “Obamacare” changes are coming into effect (setting up healthcare exchange, unable to deny for preexisting conditions in the private healthcare insurance market, etc. ). It is possible but not likely to get repealed. I have heard that some provinces such as Ontario are looking for budget cuts, and all-day kindergarten is being considered for the chopping block. I would guess that this all-day kindergarten has strong populist support, and will be hard to cut though.

So anyways it seems like a tossup. Definitely cheaper to have a child in Canada and take the maternity leave, but then should a person bolt to the USA if they can? Also, there are probably a lot of holes in my analysis, I would love to hear about anything that I might have misstated or overlooked?

Last edited by pignchick; 08-22-2012 at 11:55 PM..
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Old 08-23-2012, 10:54 AM
 
10,847 posts, read 13,066,589 times
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You seem to have forgotten housing price?

Toronto can easily be 3-4 times more expensive than Atlanta.
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Old 08-23-2012, 01:35 PM
 
Location: Verde Valley
4,318 posts, read 10,357,070 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by botticelli View Post
You seem to have forgotten housing price?

Toronto can easily be 3-4 times more expensive than Atlanta.
He mentioned housing prices.
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Old 08-27-2012, 11:07 AM
 
Location: San Francisco
271 posts, read 501,655 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pignchick View Post

This is just my generalization, that there are at least a few good public schools to choose from in every large city. However, it would generally be more expensive to live in a good school district in Toronto then Atlanta or Minneapolis because of the high price of property in Toronto. It is also easier to buy a large home with a yard in the United States. Our preference to raise children in an affordable home with a yard and a nice public school system is more likely to happen in the United States.
Inner city schools in Canada are VASTLY superior to inner city schools in major US cities. VASTLY, capitalized, isn't even strong enough emphasis. In Canada, if you're able to find an affordable place with a yard (they exist, in some smaller cities and in the suburbs), you're guaranteed to be in a good school district. Not so much in the States. If I'm educating my kids in the public system, I'll take Canada over the US any day.
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Old 08-27-2012, 12:03 PM
 
Location: Cambridge, MA/London, UK
3,745 posts, read 4,663,903 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by illcosby View Post
Inner city schools in Canada are VASTLY superior to inner city schools in major US cities. VASTLY, capitalized, isn't even strong enough emphasis. In Canada, if you're able to find an affordable place with a yard (they exist, in some smaller cities and in the suburbs), you're guaranteed to be in a good school district. Not so much in the States. If I'm educating my kids in the public system, I'll take Canada over the US any day.
Actually I will take my public school system where I live over Toronto anyday thank you. But that is another topic.

If you read the post you quoted again the poster said that every major city has at least a few (more than that in actuality) good to great schools districts available. Have you seen housing prices in Atlanta? Extremely low, so for the OP to afford property in an excellent school district it would not cost an arm and a leg. Are you saying that the best school districts in Atlanta cant match those in Toronto? That is complete BS and you know it. Also in the case on Minnesota, they also have a high performing public school system that actually competes amongst the best in the world. http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/internati...7-timss-mn.pdf

The OP has a two income professional family, why on earth would they ever have to be subjected to horrible inner city schools?

Last edited by edwardsyzzurphands; 08-27-2012 at 12:13 PM..
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Old 08-27-2012, 12:40 PM
 
Location: San Francisco
271 posts, read 501,655 times
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I'm saying on a tit for tat basis, being able to move freely into any neighbourhood without doing advance research, Toronto's a better bet than ANY city in the US when it comes to finding a suitable school.

You can throw a dart at a map of Toronto and land in a good school district each time. Can't do that in Atlanta.

You're right about the difference in housing costs, but lets not act like everything in the GTA is completely overpriced, because it isn't. I'd take Brampton or Milton's public school system over suburban Atlanta's, thank you very much.
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Old 08-27-2012, 12:56 PM
 
Location: Cambridge, MA/London, UK
3,745 posts, read 4,663,903 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by illcosby View Post
I'm saying on a tit for tat basis, being able to move freely into any neighbourhood without doing advance research, Toronto's a better bet than ANY city in the US when it comes to finding a suitable school.
An expert on all US cities? That is fantastic. The TIMSS test tells me both Massachusetts and Minnesota outperform Ontario schools worldwide though. So it is fair to assume that in both States the larger cities also have strong performing schools. Especially in the case of Massachusetts which is only outperformed by Hong Kong and Singapore. TIMSS Results Place Massachusetts Among World Leaders in Math and Science- Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Go ahead and question these results, but I will undoubtedly stand by my statement that I will take my current locations public school system over Toronto.
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Old 08-27-2012, 01:08 PM
 
Location: San Francisco
271 posts, read 501,655 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edwardsyzzurphands View Post

I will undoubtedly stand by my statement that I will take my current locations public school system over Toronto.
Anyway, here's a chocolate chip cookie since I'm so glad you found a place to nurture your damaged soul. That's awesome! You should stay there forever! And only post in that forum!

Seeing as you missed my point, like you always, always, always do, there's no point in continuing. Uh hurr durr, I'd take La Jolla's school system over Toronto's too, but that's not what I'm talking about. You think you're "setting me straight" with your "well researched and brilliant observations" that are completely unrelated. Ish is adorable, son!
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Old 08-27-2012, 01:14 PM
 
Location: Canada
4,840 posts, read 9,586,747 times
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There's a difference between Canada and the United States as far as school districts. In the US, schools are paid for by property taxes on the people who live in the school district, so good school districts are ones where the schools get more funding and you have to buy in an expensive neighbourhood to go to a good school. In Canada, the schools are all funded equally by the provincial government, so being in a good school district is not really a matter of cost in the same sort of ways, as all of the schools have more or less uniform funding no matter where they are. They vary in quality only as far as the culture of the school or socio-economic indicators of the people who go there are concerned, for example, and that's not always easily measured without really looking into an individual school.

I think the main difference is that to live a suburban lifestyle it's more affordable to do this in the American cities you mentioned due to the housing market collapse and more subsidization in the US for suburban infrastructure projects, where as it might be cheaper for some other things in Canada.
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Old 08-27-2012, 01:19 PM
 
Location: Cambridge, MA/London, UK
3,745 posts, read 4,663,903 times
Reputation: 3166
Quote:
Originally Posted by illcosby View Post
Anyway, here's a chocolate chip cookie since I'm so glad you found a place to nurture your damaged soul. That's awesome! You should stay there forever! And only post in that forum!

Seeing as you missed my point, like you always, always, always do, there's no point in continuing. Uh hurr durr, I'd take La Jolla's school system over Toronto's too, but that's not what I'm talking about. You think you're "setting me straight" with your "well researched and brilliant observations" that are completely unrelated. Ish is adorable, son!
YAWN......

"Toronto's a better bet than ANY city in the US when it comes to finding a suitable school"

That is what you said....I gave you an example of TWO entire states filled with cities and you immediately go and freak out. Typical and entertaining.

Plus considering both of the largest cities in those two states have School Choice, where you live is not where you have to attend school. So the socioeconomic factors present in many other cities are not as strong.
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