Earlier this month, Go Topeka, an economic development agency in the Kansas state capital, announced that it would pay people up to $15,000 to move there. The aim: to "not only grow population but attract and retain future growth," according to its press release.
Topeka isn't the only place offering stipends or cash as an incentive for people who are willing to relocate. Maine, Vermont, and even an island in Greece are also dangling rewards.
These programs are gaining traction at a time when many Americans feel worse off financially than they did a few years ago. And as the cost of housing rises and the availability of housing declines, people who are saddled with debt are even more keen to find affordable places to live.
Some places are offering to help pay off student loans; others are paying for year-long visas. Here's a list of 11 places around the world that may pay you to move or live there:
The offer: Alaska's incentive program isn't new, but that doesn't make it less enticing. Called the Permanent Fund Dividend, Alaska deposits at least 25% of the money it makes from its gas, mine, and oil reserves into this fund every year. Then the amount is distributed among state residents, often working out to somewhere between $1,000 and $2,000 per person.
The reason: The fund was created by Governor Jay Hammond in 1976, who wanted to ensure Alaskans would get a cut of the profits generated by their state's natural resources.
The catch: In 2018, permanent residents were given $1,606. To be eligible for a 2019 dividend, you must live in Alaska during 2018 and not have claimed residency anywhere since December 2017.
The offer: The Greek Orthodox Church is giving out thousands of dollars to people willing to migrate to this small Greek island. The program promises about $555 per month (500 euros) for the first three years after moving, which adds up to a little over $22,000.
The reason: About 20 people live on the Antikythera island of Greece. The church is hoping that this incentive will increase the population and stimulate the economy.
The catch: Preference will be given to Greek citizens, but anyone can apply.
The offer: Start-Up Chile, a government program, will give you between $25,000 and $80,000 and a one-year visa to move to the country and launch a business. There are three different programs you can apply to: The S Factory, a program for women entrepreneurs; Seed, a program for companies with a "functional product and early validation"; and Huella, a program for companies that have economic, social, and environmental impact.
The reason: The program is aimed at encouraging entrepreneurs to move in.
The catch: If you're not looking to start a business, this is not the right fit for you.
The offer: The Talent Attraction Program Scholarship offers to pay up to $10,000 of your student loans over a 30-month period. Payments will be in installments of $300.
The reason: To bring more young graduates to the area.
The catch: To be eligible, you have to have graduated from college with a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, or math) degree. And if you cease employment before the end of the 30-month period you will stop receiving the payments. You also must demonstrate employment in the city of Hamilton and/or Butler County.
The offer: The state has expanded its Educational Opportunity Tax Credit program, which is meant to encourage recent graduates from any state to move to Maine with an offer to pay some of their student loans. Residents will be able to deduct the total money paid in student loans from their income tax bill, up to a certain amount, depending on their degree. So, if you graduated in 2018 with a bachelor's degree from any university or college, you can deduct $377 per month, and if you graduated with an associate's degree in 2017, you can deduct $68 per month.
The reason: Maine is the among the least populated states in the country with only 1.34 million residents. (For context, Indiana is roughly the same size as Maine and has a population of 6.7 million.) Maine's population skews older, too: The median age is 44, about six years older than the median age of the U.S. overall, so the state wants to bring in more residents, and younger ones.
The catch: You must have graduated from a college, community college, or university after 2016 to apply.
The offer: Since 2014, Newton, Iowa, has offered $10,000 cash to those who build or buy homes in Newton. You will also get a "welcome package" that is valued at more than $3,000.
The reason: Newton was home to Maytag's headquarters until 2007 when the plant shuttered and hundreds of people lost their jobs. Since then, the city has created more jobs than were lost, but there isn't enough housing to accommodate workers. Between 2012 and 2014, no new homes were built in Newton, according to the Des Moines Register. By offering cash to buy or build a home, Newton is attempting to lure contractors and homebuyers to the city.
The catch: This only applies to those who are building or buying homes that are worth $160,000 or more.
The offer: The city of North Platte created the WorkNP program, which will match a local company's funds, up to $5,000, to bring in an employee. Funds can go toward "relocation expenses, down payments or deposits, equipment purchases, help with student loan repayment, specialized training certificates, and more," according to the program website.
The reason: To get more skilled workers and incentivize local businesses to recruit out-of-state talent.
The catch: Companies must pay employees at least $20 per hour, be a member of the Chamber of Commerce, and workers must commit to living in North Platte for at least three years.
The offer: As part of the Rural Opportunity Zone program (which is part of the 2017 Tax and Jobs Cut Act), Kansas is offering to pay up to $15,000 of your student loans over five years if you move to an approved county, of which there are almost 80.
The reason: To stimulate job growth in rural areas of Kansas.
The catch: You cannot have lived in Kansas within the past five years. You also must have earned less than $10,000 of income in Kansas prior to moving to a rural opportunity zone.
The offer: Through the Choose Topeka program, you can receive up to $15,000 if you buy or rehabilitate a home in Topeka, and up to $10,000 if you rent a home there. It's a match program, meaning that half those funds would have to come from an employer paying you to relocate. Then Go Topeka, in partnership with the Joint Economic Development Organization, will match that employer incentive. You can also receive an additional $1,000 cash, provided by Jimmy John's Sandwich, if you live within a Jimmy John's Sandwich delivery zone in Topeka.
The reason: About 40% Shawnee County workers who make more than $40,000 actually live outside the county, according to Go Topeka's press release. This program is meant to bring more employees to live in Topeka and grow the city's population.
The catch: Though the incentive will be offered to 40 to 60 residents per year, according to Go Topeka, you will only receive your incentive after living in Topeka for one year. Applications start in 2020 so selected job-seekers can move in 2021.
The offer: If you work remotely but want a warmer climate than Vermont or Maine, consider applying to the Tulsa Remote program. The city has partnered with a nonprofit, the George Kaiser Family Foundation, to offer remote workers a $10,000 stipend and $1,000 for housing for a year to move there. You'll also get access to a desk at a co-working space in downtown Tulsa.
The reason: "We have a very active effort for [attracting] secondary offices, headquarters, and advanced manufacturing companies," Michael Basch of the George Kaiser Family Foundation told City Lab. And, he added, Tulsa isn't as strong as they'd like to be in "tech and data science — things that are important for 21st-century companies." By offering the stipend, Tulsa Remote is hoping to attract workers who can build up those sector's of the city's economy.
The catch: There are several eligibility requirements: You must be able to move to Tulsa in the next six months, over the age of 18, and able to work in the U.S.
The original plan was to bring between 20 and 25 people to Tulsa, and because of the overwhelming response, Tulsa Remote had to cap applications at 10,000. Though 2019 applications have closed, they will be looking for more applicants for 2020.
The offer: The Remote Workers Grant Program for 2020 funds people who are willing to relocate to Vermont. The initiative awards remote workers who apply up to $5,000 per year for two years for becoming a Vermont resident.
The reason: The median age of a Vermont resident, 42, is also a bit older than the national median. And one-third of Vermont households have someone 65 or older in them, Joan Goldstein, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Economic Development, told CNN. This, paired with a dwindling workforce, inspired the creation of the Remote Workers Grant, which is intended to bring in young workers.
The catch: You must be a full-time remote employee, as opposed to a part-time one, and work primarily from a home office or co-working space in Vermont. The state offers grants on a first-come, first-served basis and has a budget of $125,000 for 2019.
More from Grow: