Sliven has remained one of the least developed districts in the country but the state of the labor market has been improving and poverty rates have been on the decline. Salaries and incomes have been going up, though staying below national average levels. The district is still unattractive for foreign investment and its municipalities are characterized by very low rates of EU fund utilization. Administrations in the district work relatively well, but some of the key local taxes rose to record highs in 2016. The state of road surfaces remains the best in the country but internet usage is not widespread.

The demographic picture looks good compared to the rest of the country. However, education is not doing well: the relative share of dropouts from primary and secondary education has increased to levels exceptional for the country, while performance at matriculation exams has been declining steadily. The infant mortality rate is high and the ratio of doctors to the population is one of the lowest. The administration of justice is improving – the clearance crime rate is growing and crime frequency is declining. The environment is in good condition but cultural life is poorly developed. 

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