Purchasing Power Poland: Suburbs catching up, southern industrial regions weak

The Polish economy has been registering improvements for years now, and the growth rate has consistently been far above the EU-28 average. This is also reflected in overall prosperity levels: the total absolute purchasing power in Poland rose by a nominal +16% between 2010 and 2014. One percent can be attributed to population growth, the rest to growth in absolute purchasing power per capita.
However, the development of absolute purchasing power varies widely on the regional level, falling anywhere between +3% to as much as +36%. This is a result of a change in absolute purchasing power per capita of between +4% to +32% combined with regional population development ranging between -5% and +14%.
Above average growth rates have been registered especially in the areas around Poland’s larger cities, particularly in the Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodship (Bydgoszcz, Grudziądz, and surrounding areas), but also in areas around Warsaw, Cracow, Wroclaw, and Gdansk. An increasing number of affluent suburbs are appearing around these cities. The urban areas themselves already have relatively high levels of purchasing power, and their growth rates have generally remained average.
Notably low rates of growth have been registered in the industrial and mining regions in southern Poland. Municipalities in the Opolskie voivodship have seen weak development, and in Silesia – a region with traditionally high purchasing power and high population density – urban areas (Gliwice, Bytom, Tychy) have been affected by population decline and weak per capita purchasing power growth. This is a trend which has previously been observed in similar regions in Europe (e.g. the Ruhr Valley) and which will most likely continue into the near future.
Despite different regional rates of growth, the previously striking purchasing power differences have been reduced. The Gini coefficient – a statistical measure of inequality – of the purchasing power per capita at municipality level has fallen by around 3%, i.e. the equality between municipalities has increased by some 3%.

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