The number of people working from home (or at their local hipster coffee joint) is growing by the year, with as many as 43 percent of US employees reporting they worked remotely at least some of the time in 2016, according to the New York Times. To take advantage of this growing army of remote workers, many cities, towns, and villages facing aging and diminishing populations are offering financial incentives to encourage those of us not tied to an office to consider relocation.
From towns in the American Midwest to those further afield, here are some of the places officially willing to pay you to move to them.
Tulsa, Oklahoma, US
A city probably best known for its brief stint in Friends has initiated a program encouraging remote workers to move to the southern state with a $10,000 cash incentive in an effort to boost diversity in the workforce. If the generous stipend wasn’t enough to have you booking a one-way ticket to Oklahoma, the scheme also includes membership to a co-working space worth $1,800 and discounts on rent on a fully furnished apartment worth up to $300 a month. The initiative, called Tulsa Remote, requires interested individuals to commit to living in Tulsa – a city once described by Chandler Bing as being “the Paris of Oklahoma” – for a year, at the very minimum.
New Haven, Connecticut, US
New Haven, Connecticut, has the distinction of being the very first planned city in the US and of being home to one of the country’s most prestigious universities (Yale) – but population growth has been relatively stagnant in recent years. And so the city’s government is now attempting to entice migrants with financial bribes amounting to as much as $80,000. The Re:New Haven program (see what they did there) promises a $10,000 interest-free loan to put down on a New Haven home plus a $30,000 loan to put towards energy-saving upgrades on your house and free in-state college tuition for students who graduate from New Haven public schools in “good academic and behavioral standing”, whatever that means. Stay in your new home for five years and the $10,000 loan is 100 percent forgivable. Stay for 10 years and the $30,000 loan also does not need to be repaid.
Baltimore, Maryland, US
Baltimore is another city offering to pay people to make it their home – $5,000 to be precise, if you are willing to sign up to their Buying into Baltimore scheme. This five-year forgivable loan can be used to put towards a house anywhere in the city. But that’s not all. For those willing to put in the slog, there is $10,000 up for grabs in the city’s Vacants to Value Booster plan. That is $10,000 to put towards a formerly disused property that needs renovation, a part of the government’s initiative to address years of property abandonment and disinvestment.
Hamilton, Ohio, US:
This one is open to recent graduates only and works a bit like a reverse-scholarship program. If you have left university with a degree in a STEAM subject (that is science, technology, engineering, the arts, mathematics), the state of Ohio is willing to help pay off your debts – you just have to move there first. The Talent Attraction Program Scholarship offers candidates up to $5,000 (paid in installments of $200 per month for 25 months) in a bid to increase the number of university-educated residents in this small city north of Cincinnati and replenish its aging population. This is because, since last February, only 15 percent of people in Hamilton have a college education, WCPO Cincinnati reports.
Harmony, Minnesota, US
Harmony, Minnesota, is a little midwestern town with 1,000 or so residents. It is also – according to its byline – a “nice place to visit, even better place to live”. To try and prove it, the town’s council is now offering a rebate of up to $12,000 to people willing to go there and build a home from scratch, as part of its Residential Home Construction Rebate. Unlike many other places on this list, there are no restrictions on age, income level, or even residency.
The entire state of Vermont, US
Earlier this year, Governor Phil Scott approved legislation to pay people to move to Vermont. So if you can stand the frigid winters and are happy to live on a diet consisting of maple syrup, cheese and Ben & Jerry’s, the state will give you $10,000 as part of their Remote Workers Grant. The grant also includes moving expenses and membership fees for a co-working space. One hundred people will have the opportunity to score one of these golden tickets in 2019, with a further 20 in each subsequent year.
Candela, Puglia, Italy
Towns and cities in the US are not the only ones using grease to woo potential buyers – European principalities are at it too. Remote workers who are after something a little more continental may want to check out Candela in the Puglia (or “bread basket") region of Italy. That is because in 2017, Mayor Nicola Gatta has promised up to €2,000 (equivalent to $2,350) to those willing to relocate to this Medieval town in an attempt to boost its diminishing population. Candela is currently home to 2,700 people – down from 8,000 in the 1990s. Singles are eligible for a €800 grant, couples can earn €1,200, and families can receive between €1,300 and €2,000 for living and working there.
Prefer snow to sun? Residents of Albinen, a small and shrinking alpine village in southern Switzerland, approved a plan to offer a generous cash package for anyone willing to pack up and move there last year. This is because the community’s population is falling, with a count of just 240 people as of last December. To make the cut, there are various criteria you have to meet – that includes holding a Swiss passport and committing to living in Albinen for a minimum of 10 years. Succeed and there is 25,000 Swiss Francs (equivalent to $25,300) for every adult and 10,000 Swiss Francs ($10,100) for every child up for grabs.
To be eligible for Saskatchewan’s Graduate Retention Program, you must have graduated from an approved post-secondary education institution sometime in the last seven years and be (or plan to be) living in the province. If you meet these criteria, the government offers between $3,000 and $20,000-worth of tax rebate (depending on the educational program) over a seven-year period. Saskatoon is the province’s largest city, with a little under 250,000 residents and a reputation for bridges, lakes, and very big snowball fights. The city broke the world record for largest snowball fight in 2016, when 7,681 took to the streets to throw handfuls of snow at each other.
But that is not all. There are several other towns, cities, and countries across the world prepared to offer a little financial incentive whether that’s in the form of free land to build your very own castle (such as Curtis, Nebraska) or a generous loan for aspiring entrepreneurs (like Mauritius).
We’ll see you in Candela!