If someone offered you free money to relocate, would you do it? Because believe it or not, there are places that pay you to live there.
It almost sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?
But places that pay you to move there often have a few good reasons to persuade people to do it.
These locations either have a low or steadily declining population, and an influx of outsiders can help boost their numbers to revive their communities and attract outside investments and businesses as well as government funding.
When businesses come in, jobs are created, people resettle and buy goods, stores open, the economy revives, and the towns flourish again.
So if you’re looking to make a change, and starting a new life somewhere else seems appealing, why not go someplace that really, really, really wants you to move there?
In today’s article, I list down 12 places that pay you to move there, as well as what incentives they’re willing to provide and what requirements they expect from those who want to move there.
12 Places That Pay You To Live There
Alaskans have probably been asked this question at least once in their life:
“Do you get paid to live in Alaska?”
Alaska has been paying each of its citizens (yup, every man, woman, and child) a Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) since 1982.
This dividend comes from a portion of the state’s oil royalties invested in a permanent fund.
The actual payout varies as it is based on the number of eligible applicants and the level of income over the past five years.
For example, the PFD for 2018 was $1,600 while the PFD for 2017 was $1,100.
The basic requirements to be eligible for a PFD for the current year include being a resident for the entire previous year, intending to remain an Alaskan resident indefinitely, and having no felony convictions.
Incentive: Cash; amount varies
More information about eligibility requirements and the application process: Alaska Department of Revenue, Permanent Fund Dividend Division
Vermont is a beautiful state to live in, with its ski mountains, fall foliage, crystal blue lakes, emerging food and drink scene, and historic small towns.
It almost makes one guilty for getting paid to live here.
Approved in January 2019, Vermont’s Remote Worker Grant Program aimed to pay 100 people up to $10,000 to move to Vermont in 2019 (and 20 people per year afterward).
To be eligible for the grant, one has to be a Vermont resident employed full time by a business outside of Vermont.
In a nutshell: Vermont wants you to move there and work from home (or from a coworking space) for an employer that’s not from Vermont.
Expenses and fees for relocation, membership to a coworking space, computer software or hardware, and broadband access or upgrade were reimbursable up to $5,000 a year for up to two years.
A New Remote Worker Grant Program will be implemented in February 2022 with added criteria for eligibility, namely, that the applicant’s wage is equal or greater than the livable wage in Vermont (currently $13.39 per hour).
Also, only select relocation expenses can qualify to be reimbursed.
Aside from the Remote Worker Grant Program, Vermont introduced the New Relocating Worker Grant in 2021. This program aims to encourage workers from other states to move to Vermont and work for Vermont employers.
Full-time workers in selected occupations who earn more than Vermont’s livable wage and are hired by employers who were unable to fill their positions with Vermont applicants may apply.
Similar to the remote worker grant, only select relocation expenses are qualified to be reimbursed.
Incentive: Cash, up to $7,500; reimbursement basis
More information about eligibility requirements and the application process:
Relocation Incentives | ThinkVermont
Worker Relocation Grant Program | Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development
3. Tulsa, Oklahoma
Tulsa Remote is similar to Vermont’s Remote Worker Grant Program in that it pays remote workers to live in Tulsa.
To be eligible for this program, you’ll need to be 18+ years old, eligible to work in the US, with full-time remote employment or self-employment outside of Tulsa County, and willing to move to Tulsa within 12 months.
Check back on their website or subscribe to their newsletter and get notified when applications open.
Incentive: Cash upfront ($10,000); membership to a coworking space (worth $1,800)
More information about eligibility requirements and the application process: Tulsa Remote
4. Hamilton, Ohio
Student loans are a pain in the butt.
But if you have more than $10,000 in student loan debt, and you’re willing to move to Hamilton, Ohio, you may be in luck.
The Talent Attraction Program (TAP) Scholarship is known as a “reverse scholarship” because it targets those who have already graduated from college and need help with paying off their student loans.
Eligible candidates must have graduated within the last 7 years from a STEAM program (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, or Mathematics), not be currently living in targeted urban core areas in Hamilton at the time of application but with plans to live in these target areas, demonstrate current employment within the City of Hamilton or Butler County, and intend to give back to the community.
If you get through the application process, you can receive up to $10,000, paid out over 30 months or 2.5 years (around $300 per month).
The catch is if you cease to be employed or move out of Hamilton before the 30 months are up, you can’t get any more payments.
Incentive: Cash, paid monthly over 30 months ($10,000 total)
More information about eligibility requirements and the application process: Hamilton Community Foundation, Talent Attraction Program Scholarship
Another place that will pay you to live there is the state of Maine.
As their population is aging, they need to convince new college graduates to stay in Maine.
One of the ways they do that is to offer to help pay their student loans.
Since 2008, Opportunity Maine has reimbursed student loan payments for college graduates residing and working in Maine.
Up until recently, however, this has been limited to college graduates who studied in Maine and earned their degree after 2008.
Now, if you’ve earned your Bachelor’s or Associate’s degree after 2015 from any accredited school in the US (i.e., even those outside of Maine), you can now apply to take advantage of this debt assistance in the form of tax credits.
You’re eligible to apply if you’re a Maine resident for the tax year that you’re applying to, you work in Maine regardless of where your employer is located (that is, you pay taxes in Maine), and you didn’t work outside Maine for more than three months.
If you’re qualified, the amount of money you’re paying your student loans annually is subtracted from your state income taxes.
For example, if you pay $1,500 in student loans but you owe the state $2,000 in taxes, then you just pay Maine $500 at tax time.
Incentive: Tax credits; amount varies depending on the amount of student loans and type of degree earned
More information about eligibility requirements and the application process: Opportunity Maine
6. Albinen, Switzerland
Ever been stuck on a harrowing commute to work and thought to yourself, “That’s it! I’m moving to the mountains where it’s pretty and quiet and relaxing!”
Well, maybe you can actually do it and get paid for your trouble.
The village of Albinen in the Swiss Alps is another place willing to pay people to live there.
They’re offering 25,000 Swiss francs (equivalent to $25,000) per adult and 10,000 Swiss francs (equivalent to $10,000) per child to live in the village.
This offer has strict conditions though; only those who have Swiss passports or foreigners with C residence permits may apply.
Aside from that, you need to commit to living there for at least 10 years, be aged below 45, buy residential property worth at least 200,000 Swiss francs, and have that property be your permanent residence (not a secondary one).
The village population is currently less than 300 residents, so there aren’t a lot of jobs, and the local school is closed down.
But if you don’t mind commuting to a nearby town to work or study, or doing these remotely, living in this vacation town might be a good plan.
The local government aims to bring in around five to ten families, so slots are very limited. If you’re interested, do your research and apply as soon as you can.
Incentive: Cash; $25,000 per adult, $10,000 per child
More information about eligibility requirements and the application process: Information on the program on the Albinen website is all in German, so you might want to enlist the help of Google Translate or a friend who speaks German. Alternatively, you can call or email them directly using the contact details found on the site.
7. Candela, Italy
If you’d like somewhere a little warmer than the Swiss Alps, why not consider sunny Italy?
Candela, located in the Puglia region in Italy, used to be called “Little Naples” because of its bustling, animated streets. Now, there are less than 3,000 residents.
A few years ago, the mayor introduced a plan to revive the town by offering to pay people to move to their town: €800 to singles, €1,200 to couples, €1,500 to €1,800 for three-member families, and €2,000 for families of four to five people.
To be eligible, you’ll need to be a resident of Candela, rent a house for at least one year, and have a job with a salary of at least €7,500.
Incentive: Cash; amount varies
More information about eligibility requirements and the application process: There isn’t a dedicated website for this program, so inquire at the Italian embassy nearest you for information.
Back stateside, Kansas isn’t lacking for scenery and the simple life.
If you want to move to a place where you can see the buffalo roam from your home on the range, or beautiful sunset views over open fields, Kansas may have what you’re looking for.
Kansas has actually designated 77 counties as Rural Opportunity Zones. Moving into these zones gets you either state income tax waivers or student loan repayments, or both.
For almost all of these Kansas towns, if you’re given land to build a home, you have one year to build it and then you have to stay in it for at least one year.
Lincoln, Kansas is giving away free lots between 12,000 to 36,000 square feet in a subdivision near the business center, with a baseball field, a city park, and a junior-senior high school.
You can download the application form here.
Osborne, Kansas sits along the South Fork Solomon River and is known for various outdoor activities. They’re offering free residential as well as commercial lots to boost population and business growth in their city.
Free residential lots are available to families willing to build a new house with a minimum of 1,400 square feet with a basement (no mobile homes) on the property. Guidelines and instructions on how to apply are on the application form.
For all of you entrepreneurs looking for a commercial lot, free business lots are also available. You’ll need to have business and building plans, agree to sign with a contractor within 6 months of approval of your application and agree to complete construction within 24 months. Guidelines and instructions are on the application form as well.
Topeka, Kansas, the capital of Kansas, is paying people to live there; up to $10,000 to move to their city and rent a home, and $15,000 to move to their city and buy a home.
Further incentives to move to Topeka include the low cost of living, opportunities to some of the biggest businesses in the country.
Marquette, Kansas is a small town that promises a friendly, relaxed, and safe lifestyle. They’re currently offering free building lots located in the Westridge Addition development, near downtown and a short drive away to Kanopolis Lake.
Incentive: Incentives vary per town/city
More information about eligibility requirements and the application process:
- Rural Opportunity Zones | Kansas Department of Commerce
- Live Lincoln County, Lincoln, Kansas
- Osborne, Kansas | Free Home Lots Application and Guidelines, Osborne, Kansas | Free Business Lots Application and Guidelines
- Topeka, Kansas | Choose Topeka
- Marquette, Kansas
9. West Virginia
If you love the outdoors, especially the mountains, West Virginia might just be your dream state.
It sits entirely on the Appalachian Mountains and is blessed with gorgeous scenery, as well as a comparably low cost of living.
Ascend West Virginia aims to promote West Virginia as a destination for remote workers to drum up the economy and tourism.
This program is available for three mountain towns in West Virginia: Lewisburg, Morgantown, and Shepherdstown.
Applicants must be 18 and older, from other US states that have employers that are not based in West Virginia, or self-employed with a business outside of West Virginia (so they’ll be managing the business remotely from West Virginia).
Applications for the first wave of applicants are closed for Lewisburg, but Morgantown and Shepherdstown will soon be opening. Also, Lewisburg and other cities in West Virginia might open up their doors soon, so I suggest subscribing to their mailing list so you can be updated.
Incentives: Cash, $12,000; free outdoor recreation package worth around $2,500 valid for 12 months; free coworking space
More information about eligibility requirements and the application process: Ascend West Virginia
10. The Shoals, Alabama
Alabama is yet another place that will pay you to live there.
The Shoals is the area including the cities of Florence, Muscle Shoals, Tuscumbia, and Sheffield, tucked in the corner of Northwest Alabama on the banks of the Tennessee River.
This area has plenty of history, culture, and music. In fact, there was a documentary called “Muscle Shoals” that delves into the town’s rich musical history.
Nowadays, The Shoals is getting a tech renaissance; they’re looking for remote workers to live and work there and breathe life in the economy.
You’ll need to be eligible to work in the US (citizen or green card holder), be able to move in The Shoals within 6 months and stay afterwards for a year, work remotely with an employer outside of Colbert and Lauderdale Counties, and have an annual income of at least $52,000.
Incentives: Cash, up to $10,000, given in 3 payments
More information about eligibility requirements and the application process: Remote Shoals
It’s not just repopulation that revives a community. Businesses also need to inject capital and create jobs.
Enterprise Ireland is an initiative that offers pioneering entrepreneurs thousands of euros to build their business in Ireland. They offer a wide range of financial and expert consultant support for businesses at different stages of development.
So whether you’re an entrepreneur with an idea, a start-up with a plan, an SME with more than 10 employees, or a large company with more than 250 employees, Enterprise Ireland can help you.
Incentive: Varies with the business development stage.
More information about eligibility requirements and the application process: Enterprise Ireland
Chile has emerged as one of the best places for entrepreneurs to call home, thanks to a Chilean government program.
Start-Up Chile is a program launched back in 2010 to turn Chile into the innovation and entrepreneurship hub of Latin America by attracting the best and the brightest entrepreneurs in the world by providing free funding and a temporary one-year visa to develop their projects.
Aside from the free funding, Start-Up Chile’s programs take your startup to the next level by connecting you to all the best resources an aspiring tycoon can have: mentors, experts, university officials, government agencies, venture capitalists, and company executives.
You also get free and discounted resources to help you work and grow your startup.
You’ll have to stay in Chile for the duration of the program, typically 6 months to a year, or until the grant money is used up.
If your startup is tech-based, innovative, scalable, and has the potential to make a huge impact on people’s lives, seriously consider moving to Chile.
Incentives: Capital; up to $100K depending on the specific program
More information about eligibility requirements and the application process: Start-Up Chile | Apply
Would you move to a place that paid you to live there?
Moving can be trying and costly, but choosing one of these places that pay you to live there can help ease the transition.
More than getting paid to move, you need to consider whether it will make sense for you (and your family, if you have one) to move.
If you could live and work anywhere and still do your job, wouldn’t you want to live in a place that offers a respite from the hustle and bustle of a large urban city?
Would you move to any of the places I named above? Or have you been paid to move to another state or city? Share your opinions or experiences in the comments!