Across the world, demographic dysphoria is taking shape, creating numerous headaches for governments. To avoid the next economic downturn, governments are searching for creative measures to increase population growth and deliver a sustainable economy. In Europe, a near decade of excessive monetary policy coupled with a massive influx of refugees have not been able to reverse negative population growth– first spotted in 2012.
As for Switzerland, a small mountainside village near Leukerbad in Canton of Valais called Albinen, is now experiencing a population crisis. The village of 240 inhabitants is one many areas in the country experiencing a mass exodus in recent years.
The report blames depopulation on Switzerland’s younger generation moving to big cities in attempt for a better life. With declining population, the village’s economy has come to a halt with local businesses closing up shop. Even the local school system had to shut down because activity in the area is non-existent.
Among the remaining residents, widespread panic has reached the village’s council, with locals demanding officials do something to reverse the declining trend and improve the economic outlook for the area.
In a last ditch effort to avoid a total collapse of the local economy, officials are now offering 70,000 Francs ( 71,467 US Dollars) to families (of 4) under the age of 45 to move in and settle down for 10-years.
Here are the strict rules,
The communal council has accepted the initiative and has drawn up a regulation which provides financial assistance for anyone who would deposit his papers in Albinen. The planned amounts are 25,000 francs per adult and 10,000 francs per child. A family of four would thus receive 70,000 francs. The financing of the operation would go through the creation of a fund in which the municipality would pay 100,000 francs annually.
The offer is, however, subject to certain conditions. The interested parties must be under 45 years old. They must make a commitment to reside at least ten years in the commune, specifies the president. The minimum amount of their investment is set at 200,000 francs. It can not be a second home. Real estate complexes of investor groups are excluded from the offer.
Tour Albinen from above:
The village’s local newsletter explains why officials want to pay outsiders to live in their community,
It is an investment in the village’s future, adding that the community will profit from the new families through taxes, construction contracts and purchases in the village shop, while young people will bring life back to the village. In a best-case scenario, even the village school will reopen.
Thomas Egger, director of the Swiss Association for Mountain Regions (SAB) said, “the rural exodus is an insidious phenomenon that spans several decades. The only closure of a post office is not yet a warning signal, but when the last store, the last restaurant closes, the doctor has no visit, the situation becomes dramatic”.
Over the years, many mountain municipalities have implemented creative measures to attract new residents. Several municipalities have, in the past, offered rebates for the purchase of land or housing. Some municipalities offer public transportation or even discounts for goods and services to new residents.
In a poll, one Swiss Newspaper asked: “would you be ready to settle in Albinen against 70,000 francs?” The overwhelmingly response of 3,257 participants was - No.
Perhaps in a preview of things to come, mountain regions in Switzerland offering cash for outsiders to live in their communities is an act of desperation and demonstrates demographic dysphoria is full steam ahead in the western hemisphere. It’s only a matter of time before larger municipalities take note and offer similar packages. We think this could be useful in the United States for cities like Baltimore and Detroit where population totals have hit record low levels.