In many parts of Europe, particularly rural areas, populations are rapidly dwindling. With younger generations moving to cities and opting out of having children, some local governments are offering generous cash incentives to encourage people to relocate to these areas. From Switzerland to Italy, here are some of the places that will pay you to relocate there.
Nestled in the Swiss Alps, Albinen is a picturesque village with a population of fewer than 250 residents. To boost its population, the local government is offering families over €50,000 to move there. This scheme is open to Swiss citizens and eligible foreigners who have lived in Switzerland long enough to gain a permit C residence.
Adults under the age of 45 will receive 25,000 Swiss Francs (€25,300) to move to Albinen, along with an additional 10,000 Swiss Francs (€10,120) per child. However, there are some requirements for applicants. They must commit to living in Albinen for 10 years and must live in a home worth at least 200,000 Swiss Francs (€202,310).
Ponga is a small town and municipality in northwest Spain with a population of only 600 people. The local government is offering Brits £2,600 (€2,971) each to relocate there, with an additional £2,600 for each baby born there. To qualify for this scheme, Brits must commit to living in Ponga for at least five years.
Ponga is located in the Cantabrian Mountains, with a UNESCO-designated biosphere reserve in the heart of the town. The location is a haven for hikers and is just an hour’s drive from the coast.
Rubia, a village located in Galicia, northwest Spain, is offering expats up to €150 per month to live there. The scheme is aimed at families, with the hope of increasing student numbers in local schools.
This initiative is an attempt to combat depopulation in the region. Rubia is located 2.5 hours’ drive east of Santiago de Compostela.
Calabria, Italy’s southwestern region, is offering cash incentives for people to relocate to villages with a population of 2,000 residents or fewer. Successful applicants will receive up to €28,000.
The scheme is open to those who are 40 years old or younger and who move to the region within 90 days of their application being accepted. Applicants must also launch a business or find employment in the region.
With miles of coastline, sun-kissed beaches, and charming villages, Calabria is a stunning location for anyone looking to escape the city and enjoy a quieter pace of life.
The Challenges of Rural Depopulation
Many rural areas across Europe are facing a major challenge: depopulation. With young people leaving in droves for cities and not having children, local governments are struggling to maintain the viability of their communities.
While cash incentives to relocate are a creative solution to this problem, they are not a permanent fix. For a town or village to thrive, it needs to have sustainable employment opportunities and adequate infrastructure. This includes everything from schools and hospitals to public transport and high-speed internet.
Governments can also work to promote entrepreneurship and attract businesses to rural areas, creating more job opportunities for residents. This could involve tax incentives for businesses that choose to set up shop in rural communities, or grants to support local entrepreneurs.
Another approach is to encourage remote work. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that many people can work from home successfully, and this could be a game-changer for rural communities. If people can work from anywhere with an internet connection.
Candela, Italy: the “city of light” Canva Candela in southern Italy is also known as the “city of light”.Canva Candela is a small town in southern Italy known as the “city of light”. The town has struggled with depopulation over the years, leading the local government to offer a unique incentive package to attract new residents.
For every resident that relocates to Candela, the government will pay up to €2,000, with larger amounts offered for larger families. The town is also offering tax breaks to new businesses, as well as subsidies for rent and other expenses.
Candela’s mayor has also promised to personally greet new residents at the town’s train station upon arrival.
Experience traditional village life in Mussomeli, Italy Canva Mussomeli is known for its stunning castle and historic old town.Canva Mussomeli is a hilltop town in Sicily with a population of around 10,000 people. The town is known for its stunning castle and historic old town, but has suffered from a declining population in recent years.
To encourage new residents to move to Mussomeli, the local government is offering to pay up to €2,000 to new residents who agree to live there for at least three years.
In addition to the cash incentives, the town is also offering a range of services to help new residents settle in, including language classes and assistance with finding housing and employment.
Enjoy the beauty of the Croatian coast in Benkovac Canva Benkovac is just a short drive from the Croatian coast.Canva The small town of Benkovac in Croatia is offering cash incentives to attract new residents. The town is located just a short drive from the Croatian coast, offering easy access to some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe.
New residents can receive up to €5,000 to help cover the cost of housing and other expenses. The town is also offering tax breaks to new businesses and entrepreneurs.
To qualify for the incentive, new residents must agree to live in Benkovac for at least five years and must be under the age of 40.
Presicce-Acquarica in the southern Italian region of Puglia will pay new residents up to €30,000 to relocate there.
The municipality is made up of two towns – Presicce and Acquarica del Capo – surrounded by countryside and olive groves.
To be eligible to apply, individuals or families must move their official residency to the southern Italian town.
The money must be used to purchase and renovate an uninhabited property in the area – of which there are many.
An additional €1,000 will be granted for every baby born there.
The Italian island of Sardinia is offering people €15,000 to relocate there.
Known for its sandy beaches, blue skies and turquoise waters, the Mediterranean idyll faces dwindling rural population numbers, as young locals move abroad for work.
To combat this exodus, the government has set aside €45 million for the relocation grant, enough to cover 3,000 grants.
To be eligible for the grant, you will have to move to a Sardinian municipality with a population of less than 3,000 people.
The money must also be used to buy or renovate a home. The grant cannot exceed half of the total cost of the house or renovation – meaning, in some cases, the €15,000 sum will be reduced.
Recipients must live there full time, and must register for permanent residency in Sardinia within 18 months of arrival.
As populations continue to age and decline in many rural areas across Europe, local governments are becoming increasingly creative in their efforts to attract new residents. From cash incentives to tax breaks and other perks, these programs offer a range of benefits to anyone looking to start a new life in the countryside.
Whether you’re looking for a quiet village in the mountains or a charming seaside town, there are plenty of options available for those willing to take the plunge and relocate to a new place.
With so many incentives on offer, now may be the perfect time to explore your options and start planning your next adventure in Europe.