With a total land size of about 10,180,000 square kilometers, Europe is the world’s second-tiniest continent (3,930,000 square miles). All of Europe is situated in the Northern Hemisphere, and most of it is located in the Eastern Hemisphere.
Europe has 50 nations recognized by the United Nations. However, many listings of European nations include territories that may or may not be countries but which the United Nations does not recognize as such.
As an example, Kosovo is an area that many consider autonomous, while others believe it to be part of the Serbian Federation.
Other country-sized non-countries include the enormous island region of Greenland, which is an independent dependent territory of Denmark, and the Faroe Islands, a self-governing overseas administrative division of the kingdom of Denmark.
The combined economy of the European Union, the United States, and China are among the world’s top three (the exact order switches depending upon the specific statistic being compared).
Several European nations are among the world’s richest, each in its own right.
Germany is a good example when it comes to the world’s biggest economy. Despite this, European economies differ greatly in terms of their level of wealth. Today, the poorest nations in Eastern Europe are mostly those directly impacted by the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
How can a nation’s wealth be measured?
When it comes to measuring a nation’s economic strength, GDP is one of the most often utilized measurements. To get a better sense of how the country’s residents are doing, GNI per capita is sometimes used in conjunction with GNI per capita.
European countries with the lowest GDP per capita (as calculated using the Atlas technique and current US dollars)*
- Ukraine – $3,540
- Georgia – $4,290
- Kosovo (partially recognized) – $4,440
- Moldova – $4,570
- Albania – $5,210
- North Macedonia – $5,720
- Bosnia And Herzegovina – $6,090
- Belarus – $6,330
- Montenegro – $7,900
- Serbia – $7,400
*Armenia ($4,220) and Azerbaijan ($4,450) would feature on the list above if they were considered European nations rather than Asian ones.
By 2020 GDP per capita, Atlas method, current US$, the following countries are the poorest in Europe:
- Ukraine – $3,727
- Georgia – $4,279
- Kosovo (partially recognized) – $4,287
- Moldova – $4,551
- Albania – $5,215
- North Macedonia – $5,888
- Bosnia And Herzegovina – $6,032
- Belarus – $6,411
- Serbia – $7,666
- Montenegro – $7,686
This list would include Azerbaijan ($4,214) and Armenia ($4,268) if they were considered European nations rather than Asian ones.
In 2020, Ukraine will have the lowest GDP per capita in Europe at $3,540. Ukraine used to be the USSR’s second-biggest economy. As a result, many Ukrainians ended themselves in poverty after the Soviet Union disintegrated due to the country’s difficulties shifting to a market economy.
Crimea’s unlawful takeover by Russia in 2014 and Ukraine’s deficient infrastructure are among the ongoing problems contributing to Ukraine’s poverty.
No other European nation has a GNI per capita of less than $4,290 in 2020 (save for Ukraine). This former Soviet republic, nestled between Russia, Turkey, Armenia, and the Black Sea, is going through a tough period. Its prospects, on the other hand, are promising.
Georgia’s economy and Human Development Index (HDI) are both on the increase due to significant financial reforms, a decrease in corruption, and major state investment in education.
Per capita GDP in 2020 in Kosovo was $4,440, making it the third-poorest nation in Europe, assuming it is an independent sovereign state and not an autonomous Serbian region. In 2008, Kosovo proclaimed its independence from Serbia and became a semi-recognized state.
About 550,000 people in Kosovo live below the poverty level, about 30 percent of the population. As of 2016, 34.8 percent of Kosovo’s population was unemployed, with most households earning less than 500 Euros a month.
In 2020, the GNI per person in Moldova will be $4,570, making it one of Europe’s poorest nations. Political instability, economic decline, trade barriers, and other difficulties arose after the Soviet Union’s dissolution in 1991 in Moldova.
The absence of widespread industry, food insecurity, the economic collapse that occurred during the transition to a market economy, and mistakes in social policy are only some of the causes of poverty in the nation.
Since 2006, the population living below the national poverty line has decreased from 30.2 percent to 9.6 percent, notwithstanding Moldova’s recent problems.
Per capita GDP in Albania is $5,210. After the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, Albania went from a socialist economy to a capitalist one.
Europe’s fifth-poorest nation is steadily gaining ground in terms of economic well-being. Natural resources such as oil, natural gas, and metals such as iron, coal, and limestone account for this.
6. North Macedonia
North Macedonia ranks as Europe’s 6th poorest nation. A huge economic shift took place when North Macedonia gained independence in 1991 and the economy steadily developed. Ninety percent of the country’s GDP is derived from trade.
Despite the government’s excellent implementation of programs, North Macedonia still maintains an unemployment rate of 16.6 percent. The unemployment rate peaked at 38.7 percent during the height of the crisis. As of 2020, the GNI per person in North Macedonia was $5,720.
7. Bosnia and Herzegovina
GNI per capita in Bosnia & Herzegovina was $6,090 in 2020. Even though the nation’s struggle for independence from Yugoslavia started in early 1992 and lasted until December 1995, the country is still battling to recover. People, infrastructure, and economy were devastated by the conflict and ethnic cleansing.
When the conflict ended, one in four houses had been taken over by women because of the high number of deaths.
Women in Bosnia and Herzegovina are underrepresented in the workforce and are generally paid less than males, putting many families at a disadvantage. Because of this, a large number of families were forced into poverty.
Following the fall of the Soviet Union, Belarus, like many other former Soviet republics, found itself in a difficult economic situation. Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, Belarus had one of the strongest economies and the best quality of life among the Soviet states.
It wasn’t until 1996 that the economy started to revive in Belarus. Spending by the poorest 40% of Belarusians climbed between 2006 and 2011, a period when the recession hit many European nations. In 2020, the country’s GDP per capita will be $6,330 per person.
Serbia’s GDP per capita is expected to reach $7,400 in 2020. Serbia’s economy grew steadily for eight years, starting in the early 2000s until the global crisis struck in 2008.
2009 and 2012 had negative growth rates of 3.3% and 1.5%, respectively, for Serbia’s economy, which led the country’s public debt to quadruple to 63.8% of GDP. About a quarter of Serbians are living below the poverty line.
Despite these difficulties, Serbia’s economy continues to develop due to strong sectors such as food and energy production.
Montenegro has a GDP per capita of $7,900. Despite its tiny size, Montenegro’s economy relies on the oil and gas sector. Urbanization and deforestation have depleted natural resources, leaving the nation more susceptible to resource depletion.
Discrimination based on a person’s gender or age also contributes to huge wage disparities, exacerbated for women. About 50,000 people are either internally displaced or refugees. It is estimated that they have a poverty rate about six times greater than the national average of 8.6 percent.
What happened to Europe’s economy after World War I and II?
Most European economies were severely impacted by World War I and World War II. After World War II, two separate alliances were created to help Europe recover and regain its economic might during the Cold War.
A confederation of communist countries in Central and Eastern Europe was established as COMECON under Soviet rule (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance).
European Recovery Program (ERP), also known as Marshall Plan, was approved by nations in western Europe, and they formed numerous trade and economic partnerships with each other.
One of the progenitors of today’s European Union was the 1948 Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC), which later became the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The ECSC was another of these coalitions (EU). As a result of these agreements, western European nations saw tremendous economic growth, whereas many COMECON members were still struggling.
Former COMECON nations (albeit some are still dealing with high poverty levels) have progressively joined the European Union since the fall of the Soviet Union.
- East Germany in 1990
- Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and
- Slovenia in 2004
- Bulgaria and Romania in 2007
- Croatia in 2013
Also See: Poorest Countries in Africa 2022
This is a list of Europe’s 10 poorest countries:
- Ukraine ($3,726.93)
- Moldova ($4,551.13)
- Albania ($5,215.28)
- North Macedonia ($5,888.00)
- Bosnia And Herzegovina ($6,031.56)
- Belarus ($6,411.23)
- Serbia ($7,666.24)
- Montenegro ($7,686.09)
- Bulgaria ($9,975.78)
- Russia ($10,126.72)
|Country||GNI Per Capita USD||GDP Per Capita USD||GDP Total (USD Millions)|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||6090||6031.5569||19788.4200|
|Isle of Man||83160||89112.6677||7491.9700|