Villages all over the world are trying to curb their depopulation issues by offering money, homes, and work to attract young people
The lack of jobs and opportunities for the future in big cities is causing a slow and silent exodus toward country villages that were dramatically depopulated during the industrial revolution. While our grandparents moved to the big cities beset by hunger and the harshness of life in rural environments, their grandchildren are now considering those natural spaces with an air of nostalgia and dream of having a little house with a vegetable garden where they can age and be happy, away from the stress and unemployment. There are many idyllic areas where one can take root. In certain places, even the town councils are looking for new neighbours by offering assistance if they occupy one of the abandoned houses and start a business that will benefit the community.
1. Eichstätt – Germany
The town with the lowest unemployment figures in Germany is called Eichstätt and it is urgently looking for workers to handle all its orders. The firms established in this Bavarian town are unable to find workers. This town of 14.000 inhabitants is in Bavaria, southern Germany, and has an unemployment rate of 1.3%, the lowest in the country.
2. Vallcebre – Spain
This town in the province of Barcelona (Catalonia) has never been completely abandoned. However, it is trying to prevent its population from falling further by implementing an interesting project by which the city council is encouraging people to establish businesses in one of the town’s main farmsteads to promote entrepreneurship and the arrival of new inhabitants, especially young people who can bring children to the municipality.
3. Albinen – Switzerland
Recently, a small alpine village in Switzerland called Albinen announced that it would pay 25,000 Swiss francs (21,300 euros) to anyone who comes to live there. Furthermore, an additional 10,000 francs (8,500 euros) will be paid per child. The requirements governing this programme state that candidates must be under 45 years of age, they must acquire or renovate a house, and live there for at least one decade. The intention is to repopulate this town that has only 240 residents and has lost three families in recent years. According to their estimates, they hope to attract five families, 10 adults and eight children, by 2022.
4. Bormida – Italy
The town of Bormida in Italy is offering 2,000 euros to its future neighbours to prevent its depopulation, as its number of inhabitants is now down to 394 people. The institutions are offering properties for rent for 50 to 120 euros a month in abandoned houses in the village where people can enjoy the attractive mountain views.
5. Castelnou – Spain
Newcomers to Castelnou, in the province of Teruel, do not pay for electricity and are exempt from paying Municipal taxes. In recent years, the City Council has endeavoured to recover the joy of the town and make it attractive to encourage people to move there by offering couples with children free land to build houses.
6. Colonia Belgrano – Argentina
Colonia Belgrano in Argentina, 90 kilometres from Santa Fe, has started to attract new residents. The town, with 1,300 inhabitants, is offering land and jobs to 20 families of young entrepreneurs through the “Welcome to My Town” programme organised by the Swiss NGO, Es Vicis, in collaboration with the local government.