Masovia is wealthier than regions of Germany or Italy!

A discussion we’ve been having recently on this blog on whether Poland is poor or not, now has a surprising epilogue.

This year the income of an average resident of theWarsaw region (the Masovian voivodship) will level to 88% of the EU average – says Eurostat.

This is a great achievement: even though EU funding has only begun to reach Poland, Mazovia is already richer than the East German regions of Mecklenburg, Thuringia, Brandenburg or Saxony which for over 20 years have seen a constant influx of cash from West Germany.

What is more, Mazowsze voivodship is wealthier than a growing list of EU regions, which have never even experienced communism. Including: Picardie and Nord-Pas-de Calais, the whole south of Italy including Sicily and Sardinia. Or in Spain: Galicia, Asturia, Castilia-La Mancha, or Extremandura.

This however is just the beginning. The capital region is developing so fast, that it is very likely it will out compete more regions of Western Europe. In 2004 when Poland joined the EU the average income in Masovia was 76% of the EU average. A year later it was 81%.

Mazovia results are mostly thanks to the enormous impact of Warsaw. The largest Polish region with an area comparable to Belgium and population size similar to Denmark comprises of the cosmopolitan, rapidly developing Warsaw, but also many smaller towns with economic problems and villages more grim then in other regions of Poland (especially in the north or south). Warsaw’s strength lifts the whole region in the statistics.

The Polish government is proud of Warsaw’s performance, yet no one is chilling the champagne. There are concerns that the Masovia region has become so rich, it will no longer be eligible for EU funding (only regions with a development level lower than 75% of the EU average are eligible). The 7-year budget until 2013 had been negotiated previously, based on 2001 economical data, so there is no need for immediate alarm. However the government is considering separating Warsaw and making it a 17th region. This would sustain the support for the wider Masovian areas.

The success of Mazowsze exposes the defeat of many other regions of Poland. Four of them: Lublin, Subcarpathian, Podlachian and Holy Cross, all of them comprising the so called “eastern wall” or “Poland B”, are within Europe’s 15 poorest regions. Only Romania and Bulgaria perform less well. In the eastern part of Poland the level of development reaches only 35-38% of the EU average. It is therefore three times lower than in Masovia.

Poland, which used to be more or less homogeneous, is now a country of contrasts.

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8 thoughts on “Masovia is wealthier than regions of Germany or Italy!

  1. guest says:

    hopefully the Subcarpathian, Podlachian and other eastern regions can stay “less” developed FOREVER !…

    I do not want to see shopping malls, coca cola adverts and highways there…

  2. Mazowsze: Something to be said for separating Warsaw from the rest of the province. Download the unemployment stats for the province for January 2008 here:

    You will see Radom, for instance, a mere 60 miles from Warsaw, with 22.5% of its population registered as unemployed. You will see Poland’s unemployment blackspot, the Szydlowieckie district (poviat) with 34%joblessness. The Ciechanów-Płock sub-region has 17% unemployment, peaking at over 20% in three of its poviats.

    By cutting these sub-regions off from the full benefits of EU structural and cohesion funds, we may well find a prosperous Warsaw walled off from a prosperous Poland by a ring of deprivation and despair.

    Poland’s four eastern provinces need one thing: INFRASTRUCTURE. International airports, roads and fast railway. Then the call centres, shared service centres, logistic centres will come. The people are there. But they feel imprisoned. (Well, Rzeszów has it’s own international airport.)

    BTW: I HATE these made-up names of Polish voivodships or provinces – Holy Cross, Cuyavio-Pomerian, Podlachian, Lesser Poland etc that a band of linguist nerds are promoting on Wikipedia. What next – Boat voivodship? Mazovia, Silesia and Pomerania I can live with as these are generally-accepted historical names rather than made-up neologisms.

    And it’s VOIVODSHIP not VOIVODESHIP. That ‘E’ is entirely reduntant and leads to confusion – Voi-voad-ship or Voi-vod-eh-ship? Google gives the former spelling 344,000 results v. 298,000 of the latter. So there.

  3. guest says:

    there are enough jobs. Forget the unemployment statistics. They are a joke.

  4. scatts says:

    The fact that the region of Poland including the country’s capital city can only manage a slightly better score than the places you mention is actually something to be ashamed of.

    Mecklenburg – bogland
    Extremadura – nature reserve
    Southern Italy – holidays, mafia and ancient ladies wearing black and gathering twigs

    I agree with Michael. Warsaw and immediate neighbours should be a separate region to give the other places a chance.

  5. Pawel says:

    In my opinion infrastructure is more needed in wealthier regions, where much is already going on and there are plenty of well working enterpreneurships.

    What do you need a motorway to the forest for?:)

    Honestly, what these regions need is more getting things in their own hands. Organising communities, small businesses etc.

    When talking infrastructure, I’d much more welcome having A1 or fast train connections between major cities.

  6. darthsida says:

    => Michael, re wojewodaship
    Actually, “voivode” with the final “e” is the name widely acknowledged by respectable WASP sources (I mean, it’s not just Wiki). The confusion may only be when you start referring to a heavy [experi]metal band, Voivod.

    => Anyone in the Wealthdom of Warsaw
    You realize that lots of Silesians think (and have stats to support their thoughts) that Silesia would, could and should be outside of Poland (widely autonomous or simply independent) — as in the WW-interwar years — and decades past 1945 — and nowadays — it has had to give lots more to the state treasury than it has gotten back. I hope — after Kosovo or such — people there will get their chance to decide whether to evacuate from the Polish stats.

  7. Pawel says:


    re: Ślunsk autonomy

    sounds pretty unrealistic. The historic Śląsk is long gone. This is Poland now, like Lwów is Ukraine and Wilno is Lithuania.

    And after years of communist state streaming cash to the beloved miners – autonomy would be unfair.

  8. darthsida says:

    Since when “unfair” is a political term?

    1. The historic Sląsk [in Poland] is partitioned (Wrocław, Opole, Katowice) but not gone. A self-governing Silesia is as unrealistic as people there who want out. If they don’t exist, you go on saying “unrealisitic”. However, if they do exist and make the majority voting to secede, there’s a problem which you can’t go around or about by saying “you don’t exist”.

    2. Streaming cash is correct. Yet there’s a huge difference of opinions who got more of it: Silesia from Poland or Poland from Silesia. Before WW2. Right after WW2. In PRL times. Nowatimes. As always I’d recommend more GUS stats and fewer myths.

    I don’t care if it’s called Silesia or Sweden or Scotland as long as I can move abroad. The fewer borders, the better.

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