In 2015 once again welfare was on the increase in the district of Yambol, albeit at a pace below national average. A stable rise in salaries and incomes as well as a relatively high employment rate explain the good living conditions in recent years. In 2016 the district’s labor market improved significantly, though investment activity was still relatively low. The main local taxes and fees in the district’s municipalities were close to national average levels in 2017. The district made no progress in cadastral map coverage and was lagging behind in electronic services.
Population ageing in the district is more clearly expressed than its national average level. Both education and healthcare are in a considerably deteriorated state. Yambol has continued to perform exceptionally poor at matriculation exams; the district is also one of those with the acutest shortage of specialist doctors. The workloads of criminal judges at the district court are relatively low which affects favorably the speed of justice administration. The crime clearance rate, on the other hand, is high. Cultural life in the district was not particularly intensive in 2016 once again.
The district’s GDP per capita continued its upward trend once again in 2015, though the pace of growth was slower than the national average. Thus its relative value continued lagging behind – 8,159 BGN/person of the population vs. 12,339 BGN/person nationally. The average salary was also below the national average though it kept increasing during the crisis and the recovery that followed. Annual average household income remained at a level comparable with the national average: 5,147 BGN/household member in the district vs. 5,167 BGN/household member nationally. Income structure was also similar to that in the country – over half of income came from salaries. The stable upward trend in salaries and income, as well as the relatively high employment rate are the explanation of the relatively good living conditions in recent years. In 2015 the share of people in the district living in material deprivation, as well as that of people living below the national poverty line, were considerably below national average.
In 2016 the labor market in Yambol improved significantly. The population’s economic activity rose once again in 2016 to confirm Yambol’s position among the districts with the highest activity: 71.7% (vs. 68.7% nationally). At the same time, employment was on the rise while unemployment was going down which implies an intensive process of new jobs being created. The employment rate increased to 66.2% in 2016 when the national average rate was 63.4%, whereas the unemployment rate dropped sharply from 12.0% in 2015 to 7.6% (vs. 7.7% nationally). What is behind the good results on the labor market is the relatively favorable educational structure of the population. In 2016, 26% of people aged 25–64 had university degrees (vs. 28% nationally) while those with primary or lower education were 13% (vs. 18% nationally).
Unemployment rate of the population aged 15-64 (annual average) (2016)
Investment activity in the district continued to be relatively low. As of the end of 2015 the cumulative FDI increased to reach 642 euro/person though it remained five times below the national average of 3,250 euro/person. FTA acquisition expenditures were also considerably lower: 2,182 BGN/person in 2015 when the national average was 2,973 euro/person. The low investment activity was also connected with the relatively small number of working enterprises in the district: in 2015 there were 47 of them per 1,000 people (vs. 55 per 1,000 people nationally). The district performed relatively well in EU fund utilization though their relative amount was still below average. As of 30th June 2017 sums paid from operational programs were 1,217 BGN/person in the district while they were 1,344 BGN/person in the country. The municipality of Yambol utilized the greatest amount of EU funds, whereas the municipality of Elhovo the least.
Number of non-financial companies per 1,000 people (2015)
The railway network density in Yambol is two times lower than the national average in 2015 though the road network is well developed. The share of highways and first class roads (20.6%) was higher than the national average of 18.6% in 2015. However, in 2016 road quality dropped to levels below the national average as the share of road surfaces in good condition dropped to 41% (vs. 42% in the country). The share of households with Internet access as well as that of Internet users in the district stayed below average in 2016 once again.
The average rates of the main local taxes and fees in the municipalities of Yambol district were once again similar to the respective national average rates in 2017. The annual license tax for retailers, made an exception: it was considerably lower in the district – primarily because of the Straldzha and Tundzha municipalities. The tax on taxi transport was also below national average while the vehicle tax was slightly higher. The municipality with the lowest rates of local taxes and fees in the district was Elhovo, whereas the one with the highest rates was the city of Yambol.
In 2017 the self-evaluation of the administration for development of electronic services in the district’s municipalities was once again lower than the national average, though that for availability of one-stop shop services remained higher, neither having changed compared with the previous year. The transparency of local administrations rose to reach a rating of 60% in 2017 and overtook, though slightly, the national average rating of 59%. The municipality of Tundzha had the highest rating in the district (70%), whereas that of Straldzha had the lowest (41%). No progress was registered in the district in terms of cadastral map coverage. In 2016 less than 17% of its territory was included in the cadastral map (vs. 23% nationally).
Share of territory included in cadastral map (2016)
Population ageing in Yambol was more clearly expressed than in the rest of the country. In 2016 the natural growth rate rose to –7.6‰ (from –9.5‰ in 2015) though it remained considerably below the national average of –6.0‰. Outmigration continued to play a role in population ageing – the net migration rate that year was –5.0‰. Thus in 2016 once again the age dependency ratio as a ratio of the population aged 65+ to that aged 0–14 rose to 158% in the district when it was 147% nationally. The ratio of the population aged 65+ to that aged 15–64 reached 37% (vs. 32% nationally). The district’s share of urban population and population density remained lower than the national average rates once again in 2016.
In 2016 enrolment of students in 5th–8th grade rose once again to compensate the big drop from the previous year and reached 84% (vs. 78% nationally). The share of repeaters and that of dropouts from primary and secondary education remained close to national average rates. In 2016 the district’s educational system still continued to suffer from a shortage of teachers. Yambol was the district with the smallest number of teachers relative to that of students: 65 per 1,000 students vs. 75 per 1,000 students in the country. Yambol, alongside Kardzhali, once again achieved exceptionally poor results at the matriculation exams in 2017. At the exam in BLL the average grade of Yambol students was 3.87 (vs. 4.22 in the country) and the share of fail grades reached 20% (vs. 8% in the country).
Students in colleges and universities 1000 people (2016)
Yambol continued to be the district with the most serious medical specialist shortage in 2016. There were 789 people per specialist (vs. 530 per specialist in the country). The capacity of local general hospitals also remained limited: 3.2 beds per 1,000 people (vs. 5.1 beds per 1,000 people in the country). The shortage of doctors and beds in local hospitals have determined the relatively small number of hospitalized people: 155 per 1,000 people vs. 235 per 1,000 people nationally. Presumably, the local population often looks for medical care outside the district. In 2016 the infant mortality rate rose to a pike in the district, reaching the highest level in the country – 12.7% (vs. 6.5% in the country).
The workloads of criminal judges at the district court continued to be relatively low which affected the speed of justice administration. A local judge saw an average of 6.4 cases a month (vs. 9.4 cases a month per judge nationally). In 2016 the share of criminal cases closed within 3 months rose to 93% (vs. 89% in the country) while that of pending cases shrank to less than 5% (vs. over 8% nationally). Registered crime in the district continued to be below average. In 2016, 11 crimes against the person and property per 1,000 people were registered in Yambol (vs. 13 per 1,000 people in the country). The district also had a high crime clearance rate: 71% vs. 48% nationally.
Share of criminal cases closed in the first 3 months (2016)
After the district of Vidin, Yambol was the district with the lowest share of people with access to sewerage connected with wastewater treatment plants in 2015: only 4.7% when the national average was 62.3%. In 2015 the district once again performed relatively well in the rest of the indicators in this category. The share of population in areas with public sewerage (72%) approached the national average of 76%; the share of generated household waste was considerably lower (330 kg/person annually vs. 422 kg/person in the country) while air pollution with carbon dioxide was almost ten times lower than the national average: 34 t/sq. km vs. 324 t/sq. km nationally.
Household waste generated per capita of serviced population (2015)
Cultural life in the district was not particularly intensive in 2016 either. The single exception was interest in local theaters which increased for another successive year to reach 454 per 1,000 people (vs. 322 per 1,000 people nationally). The greatest difference from average values for the country was registered in cinema visits: 193 per 1,000 people in Yambol vs. 778 per 1,000 people in the country. Museum and library visits in the district were also relatively few: 298 per 1,000 people (vs. 734 per 1,000 people in the country) and 373 per 1,000 people (vs. 605 per 1,000 people nationally) respectively.
Number of visits to cinemas per 1,000 people of the average annual population (2016)