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Economic regression: ranking the poorest countries in Europe

Many citizens associate Europe with a high level of development. However, this part of the world has some of the poorest countries. Economic development is a complex process that depends on a large number of factors.

We present the rating of the poorest countries in Europe for 2018-2019. Here the problems of social insecurity, low wages and pensions are relevant. As a consequence - millions of people live below the poverty line.

Rating method

The problem of poverty exists not only in Asia and Africa, but also in Europe. Wealth depends on the productivity of the economy. In-depth analysis in this direction has created the most accurate measure, which is called gross domestic product (GDP).


Macroeconomic indicators of the Baltic Sea Region countries in the last 3 years

Nominal GDP is the amount of all products and services produced in a state in 1 year, valued according to market value. Additionally, GDP per capita is calculated. In this case, the number of population is an important criterion. The higher it is, the stronger the economy must be.

The calculation of GDP has become commonplace, and other modern indices, such as the Genuine Progress Indicator, are rarely used.

Top 10 poorest countries in Europe

При составлении рейтинга использовались данные ВВП на душу населения на 2023 год по оценке Международного валютного фонда (МВФ) и прогноз роста этого показателя.


Ukraine's gradual economic growth was replaced by a political crisis in 2013 - 2014. As a result, the national currency, the hryvnia, collapsed almost threefold. The poor found themselves in a difficult situation.


The political crisis in Ukraine led to an economic downturn

Украина расположена в Восточной Европе, богата природными ресурсами, развита авиапромышленность, ведется добыча газа. Основные проблемы внутри страны связаны с коррупцией, отсутствием экономических свобод. Отвечая на вопрос, какая страна на 2023 года считается самой бедной страной в Европе, выяснится, что в списке первой стоит Украина.

With a focus on Western values, politicians seek to boost the economy and attract investment. The paradox is that the gap between the rich and the poor is getting wider and wider.


Second on the list is the Republic of Moldova. It is an agrarian state with a developing industrial sector. It has no reserves of expensive raw materials. The main wealth of the country is the sunny climate and rich soils, so agriculture has been the leading industry since ancient times.


Chisinau - the center of political instability in Europe

In the early 2000s, the World Bank recognized Moldova as the poorest country in Europe. The situation is exacerbated by a political crisis that has lasted for years.


Kosovo's situation as a partially recognized territory affects the economic situation. The lack of stable growth is a consequence of the gray economy. Young people are forced to leave to work in neighboring countries, sending money home.


Provincial town in Kosovo

Kosovo is a region rich in minerals, so it is attractive to investors. GDP growth rates are low.

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Albania has a well-developed agricultural sector, with few industries opening. The share of industry in GDP is only 181%. Italy is its main trading partner. Because of the availability of cheap labor, Italians have opened several factories here to make shoes and clothing.


Street vending in Tirana, the capital of Albania

Exported raw materials are textiles, wheat, iron alloys, chromite ore. Albania produces oil, which goes for export. The country has to import finished oil products.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina has been on the list of the poorest countries in Europe since its independence after the breakup of Yugoslavia. During the Bosnian War, the infrastructure was destroyed and the foundations of existing economic ties were destroyed.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo war tunnel riddled with bullets

The IMF forecasts real GDP growth of 3.5% for the country, which is not bad for the Balkan countries. Bosnia and Herzegovina produces and exports crude oil, electricity, auto parts, medicines. The country has a high unemployment rate, exceeding 40%.

Northern Macedonia

Landlocked Macedonia is surrounded by the five states represented in the ranking. The exception is its southern neighbor, Greece. Despite the long crisis, per capita GDP is four times higher than in Northern Macedonia. After the collapse of Yugoslavia, it was considered the least developed of all the republics that declared independence.

Northern Macedonia

Republic changed name, residents hope for better economic situation

The state depends on imports of energy resources, relations with Greece. It is known about the contradictions within the country on the background of interethnic conflicts. However, published in 2019 a new report of the World Bank "Doing business" showed that of all European countries it is easiest to open a business just in the territory of Macedonia.


The Republic of Belarus is in 7th place on the list of "The poorest countries in Europe. The economy is socially oriented, the main owner is the state. It has a developed energy, chemical industry, mechanical engineering, agricultural sector.


The President of Belarus urges citizens to work actively by their own example

The problem of the Republic is the domination of the volume of imported products over exports. The average wage of a working man does not reach $500.


In the early 2000s, money began to be invested in Serbia; after almost two decades, it is difficult for the government to cope with the consequences of the Balkan War. The situation in the economy is complicated by high levels of corruption, the absence of specialists who left the country during the military conflict.


Serbian village

Tourism and agriculture are developing.


Montenegro has relied on tourism and introduced the euro. The EU currency has helped to strengthen the economy, but the country cannot issue it, so it has to make do with an influx of money from outside. Industrial production is metallurgy, as well as textile production and ship repair.


Montenegro is actively developing tourism

The average wage is gradually increasing, but the unemployment rate remains high.


A country with a developed tourist infrastructure, but a low standard of living. The loss of ties with the socialist bloc has damaged the economy. The restoration of a prosperous life is slow.


The Old Quarter in Bulgaria

Vacationers in Bulgaria note that hotels are becoming obsolete, and new ones are almost never built.

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Summary table

State Population, million. Average income, euros* The level of GDP per capita, thous. USD GDP growth forecast for 2019, %
Ukraine 42,248 302 2,96 2,7
Moldova 3,550 229 3,23 3,8
Kosovo 1,920 230 4,32 4
Albania 2,876 380 5,26 3,7
Bosnia and Herzegovina 3,511 508 5,7 3,5
Macedonia 2,073 345 5,95 2,6
Belarus 9,508 413 6,09 3,1
Serbia 7,041 390 6,81 3,5
Montenegro 0,622 480 8,64 2,5
Bulgaria 6,999 490 9,08 3,1

* Wages are calculated according to the euro exchange rate as of March 1, 2019.


  1. The countries of the world develop unevenly. To calculate how prosperous they are, they traditionally map the level of GDP. To calculate income per person, they divide the total gross domestic product by the population.
  2. The top 10 countries in Europe include the Balkan states, as well as Belarus, Bulgaria and Moldova.
  3. Ukraine is recognized as the poorest country in Europe. Pensions here fluctuate around 60 euros, the average salary - 300 euros. Next year, economists do not predict jumps and ahead of the pace of development in any of the countries represented.

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