Europe is made up of 50 sovereign countries, 6 states with limited recognition, and 4 dependencies. It has a total population of 742.452 million people and a nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of $19.7 trillion. This continent is one of the wealthiest regions in the world and manages assets worth over $32.7 trillion, which represents around 33% of total global wealth. This wealth, however, is not evenly distributed among the individual nations, leading to extreme wealth disparity. This article takes a closer look at the poorest countries in Europe based on nominal GDP per capita.
Serbia, located in south central Europe, has the 10th lowest GDP per capita on the continent. This country has a population size of just over 7 million, an active labor force of 2.16 million, and an unemployment rate of 13%. Approximately 59.6% of these individuals are employed by the services industry. This is followed by agriculture (23.9%) and industry (16.5%). The nominal GDP per capita averages at $5,397 per year. The economy of Serbia entered recession in 2009 after a growth rate of -3%. In 2012, it was -1.5%. During this time, the public debt has risen to 70% of the national GDP.
Republic of Macedonia
Macedonia, located on the Balkan peninsula, has the 9th lowest GDP per capita in Europe. This country has a population size of 2,069,162, an active labor force of 961,900, and an unemployment rate of 27.3%. Employed individuals work in the following economic sectors: services (52.6%), industry (29.1%), and agriculture (18.3%). Approximately 22% of the resident here live at or below the level of poverty. Significant economic reform has been underway since Macedonia gained its independence, which has helped it to control the rate of inflation and to experience slow economic growth. As of 2016, residents here earn an average GDP per capita of $5,021 per year.
Belarus, a landlocked country in Eastern European, has the 8th lowest GDP per capita in Europe. This country has a population size of just over 9.49 million, an active labor force of 4.9 million, and a government reported unemployment rate of 1%. Several sources dispute this rate, however, with other estimates ranging between 24% and 6.1%. The labor force is employed in the following sectors: industry (45.9%), services (44.7%), and agriculture (9.4%). As of 2011, 7.3% of the population lives at or below the poverty line. The economy of Belarus experienced crisis in 2011, when the inflation rate rose to 108.7% and salaries dropped by $200 a month. Employed residents of this country earn an average nominal GDP of approximately $5,000 annually.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina has the 7th lowest GDP per capita of Europe at only $4,617.75 per year. This country has a population size of 3.53 million, a labor force of 1.49 million, and an unemployment rate of 44.6%. The services sector is the largest contributor to the economy, providing 65.3% of the national GDP. This is followed by industry (26.4%) and agriculture (8.1%). As of 2011, 42.1% of the population here lives at or below the rate of poverty. The government here is working toward postwar economic reform and as part of its efforts to rebuild, has accepted significant loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The 6th poorest country in Europe, in terms of nominal GDP per capita, is Albania. This country has a population size of 2,876,591, of which approximately 1.28 million make up the labor force. As of 2012, 14.3% of the population lives at or below the poverty line and as of 2015, 14.7% of the residents here are unemployed. Albania has the 4th lowest unemployment rate of the Balkan nations. Many employed individuals work in the services sector (65.3%). This is followed by agriculture (18.4%) and industry (16.3%). Economic growth in this country is expected to reach 3.5% in 2017 and 3.8% in 2018. The average GDP per capita is $4,470 each year.
Azerbaijan has the 5th lowest nominal GDP per capita in Europe at $4,032 annually. This country has a population size of 9,823,667 and a labor force of 6.12 million. The unemployment rate here is 5.3%, making it one of the lowest on the list. Additionally, only 6% of the population lives at or below the poverty line. Despite its low average GDP per capita, the economy here has experienced significant growth over the last few years. In the first quarter of 2007, for example, the national GDP increased by 41.7% due to the oil industry. Nearly half of the employed population works in the services sector (49.6%). This is followed by agriculture and forestry (38.3%) and industry (12.1%).
Georgia, located in the Caucasus region of Europe, is number 4 on the list. It has a population size of 3.72 million and a workforce of 1.959 million. The unemployment rate was last reported at 12.4% and approximately 11.49% of the population lives at or below the poverty rate. Between 2003 and 2014, the government implemented a set of economic reformation policies that helped the country move from a failing economy to a healthy, emerging, free market economy. The agricultural sector employs much of the working population (52.2%), followed by services (41.3%) and industry (6.5%). The average nominal GDP is around $3,908 per person every year.
Armenia has the 3rd lowest nominal GDP per capita in Europe, with residents here earning approximately $3,595 annually. This country has a population size of 3 million and a labor force of 1.559 million. An estimated 32% of the residents here live at or below the poverty line and around 18.1% are unemployed. The services sector employs the largest percentage of individuals here, 44%. This is followed by agriculture (39%) and industry (17%). Since this country has gained independence, its economy has been heavily reliant on remittances and investments from citizens living overseas. Despite this reliance, the economy of Armenia has maintained little to no inflation and achieved 3.2% growth in 2016.
Ukraine, located in Eastern Europe, has the 2nd lowest nominal GDP per capita of any country. This nation has a population of 42,541,633, a labor force of 22 million, and an unemployment rate of only 1.5%. Like other former Soviet nations, Ukraine has struggled to attain its current free market economy. This country has suffered from the global financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, an economic downturn in 2013, and political instability that began in 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea and the War in Donbass was started. The majority of individuals are employed by the services sector (68.4%). This is followed by industry (26%) and agriculture (5.6%). The average nominal GDP per person is $2,052 a year.
Moldova, a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, has the lowest nominal GDP per capita of the continent. Here, individuals earn an average of $1,712 yearly. This country has a population of nearly 3 million and a workforce of 1.272 million. Approximately 4.2% of the population is unemployed and around 11.4% lives at or below the poverty line. The services sector contributes 63.2% of the national GDP and employs around 49.2% of the labor force. The agricultural sector employs 33.7% of the workforce, followed by industry and construction (17.1%).
Countries by their Per Capita GDP
|Rank||Country Nominal Per Capita GDP|
|7||Bosnia and Herzegovina 4,308|
|9||Republic of Macedonia 5,262|
|25||Czech Republic 18,286|