After a hard recovery from the crisis, GDP in the district of Kardzhali was again declining in 2013–2014, placing it among the five districts with the lowest rate of GDP per capita. The low unemployment rate is not related to high employment but to low economic activity. The probable cause for this fact is the exceptionally unfavorable educational structure of the population. Investment activity is low but local administrations in the district have utilized considerable EU funds. Infrastructure is not well developed and administration is not sufficiently modernized or transparent in its operation.

The demographic picture in the district is still more favorable than it is in the country but the population is ageing rapidly. The shares of high school dropouts and repeaters are still among the lowest but performance at state matriculation exams has deteriorated abruptly. Healthcare in the district suffers from insufficient number of doctors and hospital beds. Kardzhali is one of the most secure districts to live in, judging by the number of registered crimes. A great part of the population still has no access to public sewerage systems, and the share of those connected to waste water treatment plants is insignificant. Kardzhali is the district with the least developed cultural life.

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