Purchasing power in Poland half the European average: survey

Poles on average had EUR 7,589 to spend in 2019, which is a little more than half the average European purchasing power of EUR 14,730, putting them in 29th place out of 42 countries surveyed by GfK.

The annual survey shows a big disparity between the richest and the poorest regions of Poland.

Warsaw’s average purchasing power is 11 percent less than the European average at over EUR 13,150.

Not quite so poor

However, the least affluent district of Szydłowiec in Mazowsze region, “has a per capita purchasing power of €4,824,” which according to GfK “is almost 64 percent of the Polish average and almost one-third of the European average.

Szydłowiec has tended to have Poland’s highest unemployment figures in recent years. It does, however have a higher-than average number of citizens who work abroad for several months of the year, that register as unemployed only when returning home. It also has an ageing population. The freshly-painted historical town does not feel that the”poor” monicker fits it very well.

Several articles have called Szydłowiec, which is the home town of former Premier Ewa Kopacz, the ‘fictional capital of Polish poverty.” An article in Na Temat mentions legends of “cement covered men jumping out of vans to quickly sign on” as being unemployed, when they are actually on their way to work on building sites.

Comparisons with other countries

The income survey is considerably skewed by the non-EU countries at the top of the scale, such as Liechtenstein, where the average purchasing power of its 40,000 inhabitants is around EUR 68,000, which is over 450% of the average, while in Switzerland the average purchasing power is EUR 42,000. By comparison Germans seem poor with less than EUR 24,000 to spend per year.