MOLISE, Italy — An underpopulated region in Italy is offering to pay newcomers over $700 a month to live and work in one of its villages.
According to the Guardian, the Molise region has experienced a population decline as more than 9,000 residents have left the area since 2014.
In order to increase residents, the region is willing to pay €700, approximately $770, each month for three years to newcomers who move villages with less than 2,000 residents and open a business. That comes out to a total of about $27,720.
“If we had offered funding, it would have been yet another charity gesture,” Donato Toma, the president of Molise, told the news outlet. “We wanted to do more; we wanted people to invest here. They can open any sort of activity: a bread shop, a stationary shop, a restaurant, anything. It’s a way to breathe life into our towns while also increasing the population.”
Toma also said that each town with a population of less than 2,000 could receive around $11,000 to build infrastructure and promote cultural activities, acknowledging that it’s not just about increasing population, but also about giving people a reason to stay.