Top Ten Poorest Countries in Europe – 2017 Update

Often when people think of Europe, they think of the pinnacle of society; Beautiful cities, peaceful borders, and prosperity. However like in all places of the world, Europe also knows struggle and poverty. Here, we list the ten poorest countries in Europe by way of Gross National Income per capita. Figures are calculated by data procured by the World Bank.

Top Ten Poorest Countries in Europe

10.Romania Average Income – $9520

europeHome to the sixth largest city in the European Union and one of the most beautiful rivers of the entire continent, it’s a little surprising to find Romania on this list. That being said, it isn’t terribly poor. The overall Gross Domestic Product is over $20,000 per capita, and the Romanian economy has been on the upswing since the worldwide financial crisis of 2008. Of course, when compared to itself as of 1985 one can see that there have certainly been brighter days for this country in terms of export of goods and national budget, both far behind it and hopefully ahead of it.

9. Bulgaria Average Income – $7620

BulgariaEven though Bulgaria has arguably the strongest non-Euro currency in Eastern Europe, the fact that nearly a quarter of the population lives at or below the poverty line earns this country the number nine spot. This rampant poverty is more often than not reported to be a consequence of a corrupt political system and an intricate and powerful organized crime presence. Unlike many of the nations on this list the primary economic powerhouse is not agriculture, but instead energy production and metallurgy, which provides a stable path to financial security; If managed correctly.

8. Montenegro Average Income – $7320

More often than not thought of as a playground for the rich and famous, it turns out Montenegro doesn’t have much wealth to call its own. Being Post-Yugoslavian state, it has suffered more as a result of nearby wars than any internal conflicts. This country boasts picturesque villas, wonderful natural vistas, and for the thrifty tourist looking for a taste of the good life, is an ideal country to visit. However with increased interest from Russian and English aristocracy in recent years, the economy (and the price to visit) may be on the rise.


7. Serbia Average Income – $5820

Of all countries on this list, Serbia seems to have the brightest future ahead of it. With a past that has involved a messy separation from Yugoslavia and a transition from a communist to a capitalist economy, it has many of the same struggles as other countries on this list. However, unlike the others it has been the subject of interest by many large companies (such as Coca-Cola, Nestle, and US Steel) and has in recently years seen a steady improvement in terms of both economic output and a lowered unemployment rate. These facts, paired with a tourism industry which has been consistently on the rise may prove to the world one day that the fate of Eastern Bloc nations as sites of poverty may not be set in stone, after all.

6. Macedonia Average Income – $5150

Not to be confused with the birthplace of Alexander the Great (Macedon), this country has never been known as an economic powerhouse. During the union with the soviet state of Yugoslavia, this region only accounted for roughly 5% of the total income of the nation. In the present day, the global debt crisis of 2008 has continued to harm the chances of Macedonians gaining a more prosperous life, with an unemployment rate averaging near 30%. Luckily, this trend may be coming to an end as the stability of Macedonia’s government lends itself greatly to foreign investment by Germany and the United Kingdom.

5. Bosnia and Herzegovina Average Income – $4760

BosniaJust as Bosnia and Herzegovina carries two names for its country, it also shares two very real burdens. First, the country has been on a long road to recovery from nearly crumbling after separating itself from Yugoslavia nearly over 25 years ago. With that separation, the Bosnian people have been attempting to convert their economy to that of a free market, a stark change from the communist system used when Josip Tito was in power. As a result of this past influence, foreign businesses have struggled to gain access to the country and improve conditions despite an abundance of metal and mineral deposits.

4. Albania Average Income – $4450

EuropeWhile Albania has quite a number of natural resources such as Iron and Natural Gas, it would appear that such wealth hasn’t quite translated to money  for its citizens. Like many of the countries on this list, Albania still relies on agriculture to employ a large number of its citizens. To its credit, at time of writing Albania appears to be in talks with such organizations as the World bank to revise agricultural, economic and environmental practices and very well may be on its way off this list in the coming years.

3. Kosovo Average Income -$3990

Kosovo

It should come as no surprise that Kosovo has taken the third spot among the poorest nations in Europe. Since its declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008, it has struggled to gain any sort recognition as a country, let alone an investment opportunity. As a result, a significant portion of its national income is the gained from citizens sending back funds from more prosperous countries such as Germany and France.

2. Ukraine Average Income – $3560


Ukraine has not had the best luck as of late. Between flopping on the chance of E.U. Membership, the loss of confidence in the post Maidan Revolution government and thinly veiled Russian interventions, there has been little chance at economic growth. It certainly doesn’t help that Russia has annexed Crimea, a region which was has been among the top tourist destinations worldwide. With Crimea, Russia also took one of the largest trade ports within the country, Sevastapol. As the Ukrainian government and her people begin to find their their role in the world, it is yet to be seen if they will continue to have the dubious honour of remaining on this list.

1. Moldova Average Income – $2560

At number one on our list we have the relatively young country of Moldova, which declared Independence from Russia in 1991. Despite being one of the best wine regions outside of France, Moldova is certainly not what one would call a country of luxury. A vast majority of the country relies on an agricultural lifestyle to sustain itself. This does give the benefit of leaving much of Moldova’s beauty unspoiled to those curious enough to cross its borders. It should be noted that those who are the adventurous type should still avoid the eastern region of Pridnestria. This is because there has been a consistent threat of conflict with Russian backed separatists, an issue shared by its neighbor, Ukraine.


  • Allan Cruse

    Here you perpetuate the impression that Romania is a “poor” country,
    though you do admit it’s “surprising,” so it sounds like maybe you have actually been there, unlike many writers who draw that inference from the
    WB statistics without actually seeing the country for themselves. Yes,
    there are some “poor” individuals, as in countries elsewhere, but as a
    country overall I’d say Romania is “poor” only on paper.

    • Noble Highlander

      The same case could be said for every single country on that list. Stop with the butthurt.

    • zeb

      The MOST neglected fact about Bulgaria and Romania is:
      Romania has the HIGHEST home ownership in the world.
      Bulgaria is 12 HIGHEST home ownership in the world. (second from the listed countries)

      Basically, a “poor bulgarian” can be actually richer than half of not-so-poor americans, because they have property ownership (often more than 1) and don’t live on debt…

      Which is among the many reasons why such statistics are quite biased and give misconception on the subject…

    • Andreas

      Romania is poor. Stop getting mad.

      • Allan Cruse

        There is plenty of contrary evidence, online and just walking around in Romania. Maybe you have an unusual definition for the word ‘poor’?

        • Andreas

          Plenty of it since I am a citizen.

  • Robert Stewhart

    and belarus ,estonia

  • martinkunev

    The bulgarian lev is pegged to the euro so Bulgaria pretty much has no currency.

  • Paul Rice

    But what is the real cost of living , without all the information the article is useless

    • Maja

      Well, in Serbia average is around 2500/3000 euro per year. Just because someone has 1500 e per month, and the rest have 200e or less, they made this conclusion about 5820e that everyone dream about here.
      Well, cost of living are like in rest of the Europe. Food is the same price, monthly bus ticket is 27e, if you go from town to town one way ticket for 150km is around 10e, clothes are the same price as in EU, even more expensive, restaurant meals are around 3 up to 10e, coffee is 1e, 1,5e…) Only the apartments are cheaper (from 170e up to 300e is avarege…) but they look as their value. Old things, dirt, and very bad conditions of everything.
      So, when you have 170e per month, or even 350e, and you pay your place 200e, + electricity, phone, internet…+ food (around 200e monthly) + something to wear, or cinema…or theater you are broke, or otherwise we can not afford anything!!!
      Just living, working, and paying taxes. It is disaster!

      • Frosina Zdravkovic

        The cost of food in Serbia is not the same as in Eurore….have you been to the UK?

  • Daniel

    It is Transnistria actually, Trans and Nistru.

  • adjust zest

    Where is Albania?

  • Mihai Chirila

    Neither Romania nor Bulgaria should be on this list. Belarus and Albania have a lower GDP per capita and they were not included on the list.

  • Frosina Zdravkovic

    “Some” heavy nonsense here! Macedonia is an ancient country and a birthplace of Alexander the Great! On this territory throughout times other people have settled as well and assimilated with the existing Ancient Macedonians! And Alexander of Macedon as his name suggests was Macedonian! Da! Those Ancient Macedonians didn’t just evaporate in space! Where are they now then? Another thing is Yugoslavia was not a soviet state omg…I can’t believe what I’m hearing! Soviet Union was a totally different country! And lastly, this analysis need to be made on some ratio basis..salary vs expenses, vs housing, vs cost of food! So you can be living in the “super rich” UK with the the highest average percentage of income but if the cost of the properties are in the range of a heavy six figure sums going towards the millions then it doesn’t make you quite rich. Average £1,000 plus mortgage per month! And what’s the average salary? I’d say housing is superbad in UK comparing to Macedonia! Old ancient supersmall squeaky floor and staircase made of timber houses that cost a fortune! Just comparing! Macedonian houses are made of steel and concrete! Of course Macedonia needs big improvements in many other areas! And the list is long!

  • Walt Shmith

    Moldova did not declare independence from Russia in 1991 as your article states. It declared independence from the Soviet Union. And no, it’s not the same thing ( contrary to what Hollywood movies “teach”). Russia declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, too.
    Geography/ History 101 for you: The Soviet Union consisted of 15 republics. Russia was only one of them. This is why it was called “a union”. Then it fell apart and the republics all declared independence thus cancelling their union.

  • Andreas

    Actually as a romanian who lives in Romania I can confirm the fears this “compatriots” try to cover, and yes Romania IS a poor country without a doubt since the minimum salary per economy it’s 800 lei which is around 175 E, now richer people and with a strong love for this degrading country will tell you that we shouldn’t be on the list, there are no problems etc… This being said you have to look first at facts.

  • Cata Oprea

    Someone really didn’t do research…..

  • cvcxv

    kosovo not a real country

  • Lina

    Moldova is not that poor of a country. Just because a vast majority of the country relies on an agricultural lifestyle to sustain itself, doesn’t make it poor, that happens because the older folks are used to living by the older ways/traditions, it’s the lifestyle that they are more used to, they just want to do something to pass their time and that’s farming, etc. They grew up with that, and the other population/ generation is doing just fine, and there are also a lot of rich people there too, and it is just the government that isn’t completely sorted out, so I wouldn’t call Moldova the number one most poor country in all of Europe, because there are definitely a lot more poor and worst countries out there.