The average annual income per household member in Gabrovo is the second highest in the country after that in the capital. It is one of the districts with the highest share of people in the workforce with secondary education, which corresponds to its industrial profile. The ageing of the population remains a challenge for the labor market. Business and investment activity again remained high in 2019. Gabrovo ranks second in the country as regards the utilization of European funds. The infrastructural development is very good, and this is the district with the densest road network in the country. Although Gabrovo is among the districts with relatively highly developed economy, the level of local taxes again remained low in 2021. The transparency of the local municipalities records high values.
Gabrovo is one of the districts (along with Vidin) with the most unfavorable demographic conditions. Students’ results are relatively high, although in 2021 they were below the average levels for the country. In the past few years, there has been an increasing shortage of teachers in the district. The number of patients treated in the local hospitals remains relatively high. Although the workloads of the criminal judges are relatively low, this has little effect on the speed of delivery of justice. In 2020, Gabrovo was the country’s leader with 76% of detected crimes. The district’s performance as regards the environment indicators is very good. Despite the nationwide restrictions imposed in 2020 due to the pandemic, Gabrovo’s cultural life remained among the most intense ones in the country.
Gabrovo’s performance in this category is traditionally very good and ranks the district immediately after the capital. In 2019, GDP continued to grow, reaching 14,400 BGN per capita and was the sixth highest in the country. Salaries and incomes went up. The average annual income per household member was 7,400 BGN, compared to 6,000 BGN in the country, and was the second highest after the one in the capital. These indicators are the prerequisite for the relatively low poverty levels in the district in 2019. The share of population living below the national poverty line was 17.8%, compared to 22.6% in the country, and that of population living with material deprivation – 14.1%, compared to 19.9% nationwide.
Economic activity in the district continued to grow in 2020 and remained above the national average, as it traditionally does. However, this growth was accompanied by both a decrease in employment and an increase in unemployment. The rate of economic activity reached 74.7%, compared to 73.7% in the country, and that of employment – 67.7%, compared to the national average of 68.5%. Gabrovo is among the districts with the lowest share of population aged 25–64 with primary or lower education – 10.6%, compared to 16.9% in the country. The district is also among those with the highest share of employed people with secondary education – 66.3%, compared to 53.9% in the country – which corresponds to its industrial profile. A challenge still facing the labor market is the ageing of the population. The demographic replacement rate as a ratio of the population aged 15–19 to that aged 60–64 is 54.5%, versus 67.1% in the country. This means that for every 100 people who are about to leave the labor market in the next few years there will be 55 young people joining the work force.
Unemployment rate of the population aged 15-64 (annual average) (2020)
Business and investment activity in the district again remained high in 2019. The number of non-financial enterprises relative to the population continued to rise and reached 57 per 1,000 persons, against the national average of 61 per 1,000 persons. FTA acquisition expenditures also went up to 2,200 BGN/person, while the national average was 3,200 BGN/person. FDI reached 3,200 EUR/person and was the fifth highest in the country. The higher amounts of domestic and foreign investment in the district have also led to an increase in production value per capita, which reached 24,900 BGN/person. Gabrovo ranks second after the capital district in the utilization of EU funds. By 15 June 2021, payments made in the district to beneficiaries under EU operational programs reached 3,510 BGN/person, compared to the national average of 2,217 BGN/person. The top place in the district was held by the Gabrovo municipality, with 4,364 BGN/person.
Number of non-financial companies per 1,000 people (2019)
The infrastructural development of Gabrovo district is very good. In 2020 Gabrovo was the district with the highest road network density in the country – 25.6 km/100 sq. km of territory, compared to 17.9 km/100 sq. km in the country, although the share of highways and first-class roads was lower – 16.4% compared to 18.5% in the country. The quality of the road surfaces was also lower – 36.7% of them were in good condition. Household access to the internet continues to increase, but in 2020 it was lower than the national average, albeit by a small margin. Gabrovo ranks first in the country in terms of the share of households connected to a gas supply in 2020 – 9.6%, which is three times above the national average of 3.1%. The installed RES capacity is relatively limited.
Although Gabrovo is among the districts with a relatively highly developed economy, in 2021 the level of local taxes remained low. The margin was especially big for the rate of the retail trade tax. Its average rate for all the municipalities in Gabrovo district was 8.87 BGN/sq. m, against 12.99 BGN/sq. m countrywide. The tax rate on non-gratuitous acquisition of property was also considerably lower in the district compared to that in the country. Within the district, Gabrovo city municipality levies the highest local taxes, while the lowest rates are in the municipalities of Tryavna and Dryanovo.
The 2021 AIP active transparency ratings of the local administration in Gabrovo district are very high – 78.9%, compared to the national average of 73.2%, thus ranking it third in the whole country. Within the district, the municipality with the best transparency rating is that of the town of Sevlievo. However, the performance of the local authorities as regards the development of e-government and the provision of one-stop shop administrative services continues to be relatively poor. In 2019, cadastral map coverage in Gabrovo again continued to increase but at a slower rate than in the country on average, leaving the district further behind in this indicator.
Share of territory included in cadastral map (2019)
Gabrovo is one of the districts (along with Vidin) which in 2020 presented the most unfavorable demographic conditions. The natural population growth rate reached a new record at –18.1‰, compared to –9.5 ‰ in the country. However, 2020 turned out to be favorable in terms of attracting population to the district. The net migration rate was for the first time positive and among the highest in the country – 10.5‰. The trend towards population ageing puts Gabrovo in second place in the country (again only after Vidin district) for the highest age dependency of the population. The ratio of the population aged 65+ to that aged 0–14 reached 250.9%, compared to 150.6% in the country, and to that aged 15–64 it was 49.2% versus 34.1% nationally. Most of the population of the district is urban – 79.9%, compared to 72.9% in the country, but its density is relatively low, with 1,218 persons/sq. km, compared to 1,506 persons/sq. km countywide.
The rate of enrolment of schoolchildren in 5th–8th grade has been rising and in 2020 it included practically the whole of the respective age group. The percentages of school year repeaters registered a sharp drop to a bare 0.20%, against 0.55% nationwide. In 2021, student performance in Gabrovo district was relatively good, though it remained below the national average. The district’s average score in the external examination in mathematics at the end of 7th grade was 33.4 points, compared to 37.9 points in the country. Results in the State matriculation exams in Bulgarian language and literature were slightly below the national average – 4.19, versus 4.21 nationally, but the share of “fail” (below 3.00) grades was relatively low – 5%, against 7% nationwide. In the past few years, there has been an increasing shortage of teachers in Gabrovo district, against the growth in their numbers across almost the entire country. In 2020, the number of teachers in primary and secondary education in the district decreased to 77 per 1,000 students, compared to 87 per 1,000 students nationally, and was the second lowest in the country, before only Yambol district. Gabrovo remains among the districts with the highest and still rising number of university students, reaching 46 per 1,000 persons, against 32 per 1,000 persons in the country.
Students in colleges and universities 1000 people (2020)
In 2020, Gabrovo again remained among the districts with the highest share of people with health insurance – 96.3%, versus 88.7% as the national average. The number of doctors – GPs, as well as specialist physicians – is close to the national average. The number of beds in the local general hospitals has continued to rise in the past three years but is still relatively low – 5.1 beds per 1,000 persons, compared to 5.5 beds per 1,000 persons nationally. The number of patients treated in the local hospitals remains relatively high – 188 per 1,000 persons, compared to 138 per 1,000 persons countrywide. The infant mortality rate in the district has been increasing and is higher than the national average.
Although criminal court workloads in Gabrovo district remained lower than the national average in 2020, this did not have a significant effect on the speedy delivery of justice. One local judge heard an average of 5.8 criminal cases per month, compared to 8.6 cases per month per judge in the country, while the share of cases completed within 3 months was 84%, versus 90% nationally. In 2020, the number of registered crimes against the person and property decreased and remained below the national average, with 9.6 crimes per 1,000 persons, compared to 9.9 per 1,000 people in the country. At the same time, however, the crime detection rate has continued to increase. Gabrovo is the leader in the country with 76.3% of detected crimes, versus 52.1% on average for the whole country.
Share of criminal cases closed in the first 3 months (2020)
The performance of Gabrovo district in the environment indicators is very good. In 2019, the amount of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere was relatively low – 30 t/sq. km. For its part, the relatively high share of urban population accounts for the high number of households living in settlements connected to a public sewerage network – 85.1%, compared to 76.4% in the country, and to sewerage networks connected to wastewater treatment plants – 74.5%, versus 64.6% nationwide. In 2018, the volume of generated household waste in the district decreased, but nevertheless remained relatively high – an annual of 433 kg/person, against 409 kg/person in the country. At the same time, however, almost all waste (91%) was handed over for treatment and recycling, compared to 71% in the country.
Household waste generated per capita of serviced population (2018)
In spite of the restrictions imposed in 2020 due to the pandemic, Gabrovo district’s cultural life remains among the most intense in the country and is outranked only by the capital district. The main reason for this is the extremely high number of visits to museums. Although similar to the country’s average, this number also shrank by over 50%. In 2020, the number of visits to local museums was 1,800 per 1,000 persons, compared to 322 per 1,000 persons nationally. The number of visits to libraries and cinemas in the district decreased at a rate higher than the country’s average, while values stayed below average.
Number of visits to cinemas per 1,000 people of the average annual population (2020)