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4th Mar 2024

Moldovans are the poorest people in Europe

  • Spanish per capita wealth is closest to the European average, at €12,943 in 2012. (Photo: Olmo Calvo Rodríguez)

People in Liechtenstein are the richest in Europe, while Moldovans are 45 times poorer, a German study shows, placing Spaniards closest to the European average purchase power of around €13,000 a year.

Carried out in 42 countries by GfK Geo Marketing, a German pollster, the survey looks at the individual income and savings after paying taxes.

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Liechtenstein - a tiny non-EU country bordering Austria and Switzerland - tops the ranking at around €57,000 per person per year. The Alpine state is a low-tax haven with more registered companies than citizens and thriving financial services. Its neighbour Switzerland - with whom it shares the currency and a customs union - is third in the ranking, after oil-rich Norway, also a non-EU member.

The wealthiest per capita EU member is Luxembourg - a similarly low-tax, financial sector-oriented small country bordering Belgium, Germany and France. Luxembourgers have around half of what Liechtensteiners can spend after paying taxes: €28,924 per year. This is still more than twice as much as the European average observed in Spain and southern Italy: around €13,000.

At the other end of the scale are people in Moldova, Belarus and Kosovo, who earn ten times less than the European average.

Regional disparities are high in many countries - with Paris inhabitants almost twice as rich as their national average, while a quarter of Bulgaria's wealth is concentrated in the capital, Sofia. In Poland, personal wealth also varies between €3,626 in south-eastern Poland to €9,969 in Warsaw. Denmark, which ranks fifth in the individual purchase power ranking, has the most even distribution among regions: Copenhageners earn €23,442 while the lowest wealth per capita is seen in northern Jutland, at €21,033.

The study also looks at total wealth in Europe, which places Germany on top, followed by France and the UK. The three largest economies in the EU account for almost half of the total purchasing power in Europe, with the remaining 53 percent divided among 39 other countries. Poland and Turkey, where per capita purchasing power is below average, are also among the top ten countries when it comes to total wealth.

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