Europe News

Italian village offers $2,100 to boost falling population

Key Points
  • Update: Since this article was published, the Mayor has retracted the offer.
  • Italian village of Bormida offers $2,100 incentive to boost population.
  • Rent of just $54 per month will be available to successful applicants.
  • The mountainous village is one of many in Italy to attract new inhabitants.
A small town in Italy is trying to entice new residents with cash and cheap rent
A small town in Italy is trying to entice new residents with cash and cheap rent

A remote village in Italy is promising cheap rent and a lump sum of $2,170 to anyone who agrees to move there in a bid to boost its dwindling population.

Mayor Daniele Galliano of Bormida hopes that the incentive will breathe new life into the mountainous village in north-west Italy, which is home to just 394 inhabitants.

People looking for a taste of rural life have been invited to make their application either by phone, writing or in person. Successful applicants will then be allocated discounted accommodation via a public tender in approximately two months' time, the mayor said in a post on the town's website. He gave no further details of the selection process.

Discounted accommodation will be available from 50 euros ($54) per month. More spacious alternative properties will also available for 120 euros per month ($130).

The additional one-off $2,100 "residence bonus" can be expected in 2018, after all "necessary procedures" have been undertaken, Galliano wrote in a separate Facebook post.

The post was met with a wave of interest, including almost 2,000 comments and offers to forego the bonus in return for a job in the town.

"We couldn't rent them at market value, so we chose a symbolic number and the requests abounded: the important thing was to repopulate the village," Galliano told local media.

The incentive program was initially established in 2014 to entice new locals to help boost depleting numbers in the small village. Since then the total population has risen by four, though 54 people have moved away.

During the 1950s, the village's population was more than twice its current level at over 800 but the population slowly moved out to bigger cities in search for better education and employment opportunities.

Backyard in a small mountain village in Italy's Liguria region
Olaf Protze | LightRocket | Getty Images

Bormida is situated in the Liguria region, 420 feet above sea level. The nearest city, Genoa, is 50 miles away.

The scheme is one of many to be promoted in Italy, as the country struggles to regenerate its rural regions.

It is estimated that one-third of Italy's villages are at the risk of depopulation – or possible extinction – according to a 2016 report by national environmental association Legambiente.

Other countries face similar prospects of depleting populations, particularly within smaller, rural areas.

Last year, Kaitangata, a small town in New Zealand, launched a $165,000 land and home package to attract people to fill its surplus of job vacancies.

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