Purchasing power extremes: a Europe of increasing inequality

Prosperity levels among individual European countries may be converging at national levels, but regional or subregional levels paint a different picture: over the long term, differences have tended to increase. Today, average residents of Luxembourg have approx. €50.000 for their yearly budget, whereas those living in rural areas of the Republic of Moldova have only around €1.000!
Wealth in Europe is geographically distributed: the rich live in the north-west, the poor in the south-east. Urban populations are consistently wealthier than rural ones – except in Switzerland, where a disproportionate number of the super-rich have taken up residence in the countryside. One of the reasons for this are Switzerland’s federal tax regulations, which allow the super-rich to pay less tax in smaller municipalities.
Among the 10 European regions with the highest levels of purchasing power, 5 are in Switzerland, followed by Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, 2 southern regions in Norway, and inner London. But poverty is also clearly distributed in Europe. Of the 10 regions with the weakest purchasing power, 6 are in southern ex-Yugoslavia and Albania, two in the Turkish Kurd territories, the Republic of Moldova, and regions in Ukraine. Although Italy’s south is considered “poor”, average purchasing power is considerably higher than in the previous ten areas, and even people living in remote regions of Russia earn more.