GDP per capita in the district of Burgas continued to grow in 2019, though at a slower pace than the national average. Salaries and income levels have also been rising but remain below the average ones. Alongside the decline in economic activity there has been a drop in employment accompanied by a rise in unemployment rates. Investment and business activity in Burgas district remains among the highest in the country. The number of non-financial enterprises relative to the population is the second highest in the country and the volume of FDI – the third highest. In 2021 Burgas remained one of the districts with the highest local tax rates in the country. The Active transparency ratings of the local administration went up in 2021 and made up for their lag the previous year.
The demographic indicators place Burgas district among the top three in the country. The share of people with a medical insurance is one of the lowest in Bulgaria. Healthcare in the district also suffers from a shortage of doctors and hospital beds. Court workloads are relatively high and this impacts the speedy delivery of justice. Crime rates are falling. With its large share of urban population, there is a relatively high share that live in settlements with public sewerage systems. The pandemic and the limitation on visits to public places in 2020 have had a powerful negative impact on cultural life in the country, Burgas district making no exception.
GDP in Burgas district continued to grow in 2019, though at a slower pace than in the country on average. Its amount per capita reached 13,400 BGN. Salaries and incomes also went up but remained below the national average. The average annual gross salary of employed people in the district was 12,300 BGN, compared to 15,200 BGN as the national average, while the average annual income per household member was 5,200 BGN/person, against the national average of 6,000 BGN/person. In 2019 poverty levels in the district again remained close to the national average. People living in material deprivation constituted 22.7% of the population, versus 19.9% in the country, and 20.0% were living below the poverty line, against 22.6% countrywide.
In 2020 economic activity fell in almost every one of Bulgaria’s districts, but in Burgas that decline was particularly strong (by 3.5 p.p.), with the total activity rate down to 69.4%, compared to the national average of 73.7%. At the same time, Burgas district experienced a drop in employment and a rise in unemployment. Still, while the unemployment rate remained relatively low (4.9%, versus 5.2% nationwide), the employment rate shrank by nearly 5 p.p. to 64.6%, compared to the national average of 68.5%. The educational status of the workforce in the district is relatively low but 2020 marked some positive tendencies. The share of people aged 25–64 with higher education reached 24.2%, against 29.2% on a national level, while the share of people with primary or lower education was 19.6%, compared to the national average of 16.9%. The population replacement rate of those aged 15–19 to those aged 60–64 had been rising for four years in a row and reached 70.4%, versus 67.1% countrywide. Thus for every 100 people who will leave the workforce in the next few years, there are 70 people who could enter the labor market.
Unemployment rate of the population aged 15-64 (annual average) (2020)
In 2019, Burgas district retained its place among the leaders in investment and business activity. The number of non-financial enterprises relative to the population was the second highest in the country, preceded only by the capital, and continued to grow, reaching 76 per 1,000 persons, against the national average of 61 per 1,000 persons. In 2019 FTA acquisition expenditures continued to fall but remained relatively high at 2,500 BGN/person. FDI retained its upward trend and its volume relative to the population was the third highest in the country, after Sofia (capital city) and Sofia district – 5,200 EUR/person, against 3,700 EUR/person on a national level. Burgas also performed very well as regards production value – 35,800 BGN/person, versus 28,000 BGN/person nationally, and was again outranked only by Sofia district and Sofia (capital city).Payments made for European projects have grown as well, albeit by 15 June 2021 they still remained below the national average levels. Within the district, the largest sums were utilized by the municipalities of Primorsko and Sozopol – over 5,000 BGN/person.
Number of non-financial companies per 1,000 people (2019)
The density of the road and railroad networks in the district of Burgas remained relatively low in 2020. The share of highways and first-class roads was high (26%) but the quality of the road surfaces remained low. The share of good quality road surfaces was 32.5%, against the national average of 41.4%. The share of households with internet connectivity has risen, exceeding the national average by a small margin. The share of households connected to a gas supply is lower than average – 0.4%, against 3.1% nationally. The installed RES capacities are also more limited – 0.3 kW/person, which is twice lower than the national average.
Burgas ranks among the districts with the highest level of local taxation in 2021, with local taxes higher only in the capital district. The difference is particularly large in the taxation on motor vehicles and retail trade. Municipalities with relatively higher tax rates include the tourist towns of Sozopol, Primorsko and the city of Burgas, while the less developed Malko Tarnovo, Aitos and Karnobat impose lower rates.
Cadastral map coverage in the district of Burgas made slow progress in 2019, lagging behind the national average. The local authorities’ self-assessment ratings on the development of e-government also showed some decline in 2021, but the evaluation of their provision of one-stop shop administrative services went up and remained above the national average. The AIP Active transparency ratings of the local administration rose in 2021 to reach 73.8%, thus compensating for their lagging behind the previous year and equaling the national average of 73.2%. The highest transparency ratings in the district of Burgas were recorded by the municipalities of Burgas city and Primorsko.
Share of territory included in cadastral map (2019)
The demographic indicators place Burgas district among the top three in the country, after only Sofia (capital city) and Varna. The natural population growth rate is still negative and continues to decline but at –6.6‰ in 2020, it was still among the highest in the country, while the national average was –9.5‰. Burgas district continues to attract new residents as well, with the net migration rate reaching 7.8‰. This also reflects on the age dependency ratios. The ratio of the people aged 65+ to those aged 0–14 was 130.4%, compared to 150.6% in the country, and to those aged 15–64 it was 31.5%, versus 34.1% nationwide. For the first time in at least ten years, the share of urban population in Burgas district is declining, although it remains above the national average – 76.0%, compared to 72.9% in the country. The population density in urban areas is also relatively high – 2,240 people/sq. km, compared to 1,506 people/sq. km in the country.
The enrolment rate in 5th–8th grade continued to decline in 2020 and again remained below the national average. At the same time, the shares of repeaters and dropouts from primary and secondary education have been falling. The number of teachers relative to the population has risen slightly but again remains relatively low. In 2021 the results in the external examination in mathematics at the end of 7th grade were relatively high – 39.3 points, compared to the national average of 37.9 points. However, the average grades in the State matriculation exam in Bulgarian language and literature remained relatively low. The average grade in 2021 was 4.12, compared to 4.21 in the country, and the share of “fail” grades (below 3.00) was 9%, against 7% on average in the country. The number of university students in the district relative to the population increased slightly in 2020, but remained twice lower than the national average.
Students in colleges and universities 1000 people (2020)
In 2020, the share of people with health insurance in Burgas district remained among the lowest in the country – 84.3%, compared to 88.7% nationwide. Healthcare in the district also suffers from a shortage of doctors and hospital beds. There are 2,058 people per one GP, compared to 1,727 people per one GP in the country. The number of hospital beds is 3.6 per 1,000 persons, against 5.5 hospital beds per 1,000 persons countrywide. The number of patients treated in the local general hospitals also remains significantly lower than the national average. The infant mortality rate increased in 2020 to 7.2‰, and for the third consecutive year was above the national average of 5.1‰.
Court workloads in Burgas district are relatively high, which in 2020 reflected on the speed of delivery of justice. There were 9.7 cases a month per one criminal judge, compared to 8.6 nationally. The share of cases closed within 3 months declined to 88%, compared to 90% as the national average. The crime rate in the district has been falling but remains above the national average. In 2020 the registered crimes against the person and property in Burgas district amounted to 11.5 per 1,000 persons, with 9.9 per 1,000 persons as the national figure. Detection rates went up to reach 50.3%, which is still below the national average of 52.1%.
Share of criminal cases closed in the first 3 months (2020)
In 2018 Burgas was among the districts with the greatest amounts of waste generated by the households – an annual of 433 kg/person, against 409 kg/person on a national scale. At the same time, however, a large share of this waste was handed over for treatment and recycling – 83%, against 71% as the national average. Given the district’s high share of urban population, a relatively large part live in settlements with public sewerage – 79.1%, versus 76.4% countrywide, and in settlements with a sewerage system connected to a waste water treatment plant – 66.1%, against the national average of 64.6% for 2019. Carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere remain at relatively low levels: 92 t/sq. km.
Household waste generated per capita of serviced population (2018)
The pandemic and the limitations on visits to public places in 2020 have had a strongly negative impact on cultural life in the country, Burgas district making no exception. The number of cinema visits dropped by 77% to 193 per 1,000 persons, but remained slightly higher than the national average of 190 per 1,000 persons. Museum visits decreased by 67% to 198 per 1,000 persons, compared to 322 per 1,000 persons nationwide. The reduction in the numbers of library visits was less drastic (8%, versus 30% in the country) but these visits have been traditionally few. In 2020 they amounted to 101 per 1,000 persons, compared to 480 per 1,000 persons nationwide).
Number of visits to cinemas per 1,000 people of the average annual population (2020)