The cities, towns and villages that will pay you to move there

Places facing depopulation are looking for ways to entice new residents

Helen Coffey
Tuesday 17 August 2021 16:19 BST
<p>Santa Fiora in Tuscany is offering cut-price rent</p>

Santa Fiora in Tuscany is offering cut-price rent

Fancy upping sticks and moving somewhere new? You could get a cash incentive for your trouble.

With rapid urbanisation around the world, many smaller villages, towns and cities are facing dwindling populations as young locals migrate to more metropolitan areas.

Some enterprising destinations have launched schemes to entice new residents – including paying people to move there.

Programmes usually have various kind of strings attached, whether it’s starting up a new business, bringing a useful skill to the area, or committing to renovating a local property.

Young people with families are often preferred, too, and given further incentives to resettle.

Expat insurance provider William Russell has conducted research on the best destinations that pay for new inhabitants:

US states


Those willing to work remotely from the US state’s second city, Tulsa, could receive a grant of up to $10,000 (£7,300).

Tulsa Remote is offering digital nomads desk space, networking events and $10,000 as a lump sum to put towards a new home or as a monthly stipend.


Bemidji, a town of just 14,000 inhabitants in Minnesota, is trying to attract new residents with its 218 Relocate package.

It offers digital nomads up to $2,500 to cover moving expenses, a free co-working space and access to the Community Concierge Programme, to help newbies get set up.


Alaskans who are eligible for the state’s yearly cash grant can take home around $1,600 per annum – just for living there.

The money comes from the Permanent Fund Dividend, established in 1976 as a way to share the state’s oil profits with local Alaskans.


The US’s second smallest state in terms of population size is on the hunt for new blood. Its Remote Worker Grant scheme offers $10,000 paid over two years for those willing to relocate there.


Spain’s rapid transformation from an agricultural to an urban society in the late 20th century led to many people abandoning their properties in traditional pueblos (villages) in favour of big cities.

Some of these are offering a cash injection to those willing to embrace the rural life.

The town of Ponga, Asturias, gives families €3,000 (£2,600) to help them settle in, plus an additional €3,000 for each baby born in the town, while Rubia in Galicia will supplement new residents’ income by an extra €100-150 per month.


Those under the age of 45 could receive $25,200 for moving to the remote Swiss village of Albinen.

However, there’s no such thing as a free lunch; new inhabitants must commit to living there for at least 10 years, and only Swiss residents are eligible for the bonus. That means those who have lived in Switzerland either 12 years in total or five years with a type B permit, or have married a Swiss person, plus completed a citizen application before the end of the 10 years.


Several places in Italy are striving to attract an influx of new residents.

The medieval village of Candela in the Apulia region is offering singles €800, couples €1,200 and families up to €2,000 to move there, plus tax credits to help cover the cost of services like waste disposal. Candidates are required to apply for formal residency in Candela and have a salary of at least €7,500.

Elsewhere, Calabria, the region that forms the “toe” of the Italian boot shape, is luring applicants under 40 with the promise of up to €28,000, to be paid in monthly instalments of €800-€1,000 over the course of three years, or as a one-off lump sum to fund a new business, such as a restaurant, shop or B&B.

The medieval village of Santa Fiora in Tuscany and ancient city of Rieti in Lazio are both offering remote workers willing to relocate and rent a house there up to €200 or 50 per cent off the total rent for long-term stays of between two and six months. With local rents averaging around €300-€500 per month, new arrivals could end up paying as little as €100 per month.

And Santo Stefano di Sessanio in the Abruzzo region has recently started offering grants of up to €44,000 to incentivise new residents aged 18-40 to relocate. The scheme is open to EU and non-EU residents with an Italian residency card, and new residents will be expected to open a business and stay for at least five years.

Italy is also home to the €1 houses scheme, where abandoned villages sell off properties for €1 to entice new residents, who must commit to refurbishing their new home within a certain timeframe.

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