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
Home 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
Even 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
Just 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
While 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
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.