Joshua Bote

USA TODAY

Published 4:59 PM EDT Sep 12, 2019

A small region in southern Italy is taking drastic measures to get newcomers to move into its underpopulated towns.

Molise, a region in Italy where towns are afflicted with underpopulation, will launch a program Monday that will pay newcomers a $770 monthly stipend for three years if they live in one of its villages.

There are a few caveats, The Guardian reported Wednesday: The village must have less than 2,000 residents, and the newcomer must pledge to open a small business in the town.

The president of Molise, Donato Toma, told The Guardian he wanted to do more than get people to move in temporarily. 

“We wanted people to invest here,” he told The Guardian. “They can open any sort of activity: a bread shop, a stationery shop, a restaurant, anything. It’s a way to breathe life into our towns while also increasing the population.”

More than 10,000 people have left the region in the past decade, bringing its 2018 population down to about 308,000 residents, according to Italian demographic records.

According to CNN, 107 of its 137 towns have less than 2,000 residents.

Italy’s population has declined for the first time in 90 years, The Italian Insider reported, because fewer people give birth and people emigrate.

The small town of Candela proposed a similar plan in 2017, per CNN, offering up to $2,350 for people to move in. It saw a marginal increase of its population by nearly 80 residents, according to Italian demographic records.

Follow Joshua Bote on Twitter: @joshua_bote


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