A region in southern Italy that has lost the most inhabitants in the country in the last five years is offering people approximately $770 a month for three years to move there, according to reports.
More than 9,000 people have left Molise, a small predominantly mountainous region, since 2014, leaving the population at around 305,000. Not a single birth was registered in nine of its towns last year.
The requirements for accepting the money include moving to a village in the region with fewer than 2,000 residents and a pledge to open a business — any kind of business as long as the investment goes back into the village.
“If we had offered funding, it would have been yet another charity gesture,” Donato Toma, the president of Molise, told the Guardian, adding: “It’s a way to breathe life into our towns while also increasing the population.”
The benefit of the money will not be limited to just those moving there. Toma said these towns will also receive more than $11,000 a month to help build infrastructure and promote cultural activities. He said this will help give people a reason to stay.
“Otherwise, we’ll end up back where we started in a few years,” he added.
This is not the first time a region or town in Italy has offered compensation to move and settle there.
In 2017, the northwestern Italian town of Bormida offered more than $2,000 to people willing to move there and settle down. At the time, the village had 394 people calling it home.
Meanwhile, earlier this year, the town of Mussomeli, in southern Sicily, offered to sell abandoned properties for a symbolic price of just under $2 as long as the purchaser agreed to renovate it within a year.
Italy's population has fallen to about 55 million, according to the Guardian. Factors include a decrease in births and an increase of the migration of young people to other European nations looking for new job opportunities.
According to the Italian National Institute of Statistics, nearly 157,000 people left the country in 2019.