Q: How does Slovak income compare to Central Europe?
In general, wealth in Slovakia and all of Central Europe drops along the line from west to east (it drops in the reverse direction in Western Europe). The countries to the east and south-east, in turn, have lower purchasing power than Central Europe. From a historical perspective, it is unlikely to change without a concerted effort – the pattern has been in place for much of the past millennium.
The numbers show each statistical unit's GDP per-capita purchasing power relative to Slovakia's national average set at 100%. (Eurostat for 2010.)
The yellow shading matches Slovakia's purchasing power range from the eastern region (67% of Slovakia's average) to the country's average (100%). Green = above the range, yellow = within the range, red = below the range. The range leaves out Bratislava's metropolitan statistical area taken in isolation, but its purchasing power is included in the national average.
By comparison, the U.S. national purchasing power average calculated in the same manner for the year 2010 would be represented by 201% in the map, i.e., below the metropolitan areas of Bratislava, Vienna, and Prague, and the region of Bavaria, and higher than the rest of the map above.
While there was no match at the collapse of communism in 1989, the hampered Central European countries began to match or surpass the purchasing power in unaffected Europe's outlying areas from around the mid-2000s. The capitals rose far above their countries earlier. (Eurostat for 2010.)