- According to a study by Norton Finance, Skopje, North Macedonia, tops the list as the most affordable European capital for digital nomads.
- Despite its affordability, Skopje battles severe pollution issues, causing health and living concerns among residents.
According to a TimeOur report, Norton Finance recently conducted a study to ease the selection process for such individuals.
Their research, evaluating 184 countries on criteria like rent, utilities, transportation, food, gym, and internet costs, alongside the cost of return flights from the UK, crowned Skopje, North Macedonia, as the most budget-friendly choice.
The evaluation illustrates a broader affordability spectrum, with cities like Copenhagen and Dublin at the pricier end. The top three economic capitals after Skopje are Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chisinau, Moldova, and Belgrade, Serbia.
The affordability of living in these cities can significantly benefit digital nomads, allowing them to maintain their earnings while exploring new cultures.
Skopje’s Double-Edged Sword: Affordability vs. Air Quality
While Skopje is a magnet for cost-conscious digital nomads and tourists, its severe pollution problem poses a significant drawback.
According to The Guardian report, the city’s geographical location in a valley, with dirty fuel usage and inadequate urban planning, contributes to trapping toxins close to the ground, especially during winter.
A 2018 study highlighted the dire impact of the city’s polluted air, shortening residents’ lifespan by two to three years on average.
The social cost of this environmental issue ranges between €0.5bn and €1.5bn, shedding light on the pressing need for pollution control measures.
The chronic pollution also deters some foreign workers and tourists, exacerbating the city’s brain drain issue alongside its low wages and corruption challenges.
What Do We Think?
The narrative of Skopje reflects a common dilemma many cities face: the trade-off between affordability and quality of life.
For digital nomads, the choice of relocating to budget-friendly capitals like Skopje comes with the responsibility of understanding and navigating the environmental and social challenges that lurk beneath the attractive cost of living.
The tale of Skopje serves as a reminder that the quest for affordable living should harmonize with the pursuit of sustainable and healthy living conditions.