Low income has been a major cause of the relatively high level of poverty in Razgrad district. Poor investment activity, low employment levels, and high unemployment are all rooted in the unfavorable educational structure of the population. The average rates of the principal local taxes and fees in the district’s municipalities were once again close to the national average in 2017. Traditionally, the evaluations of the municipal administration’s work have been above average.
In the last few years, population ageing was increasingly fast in the district. Razgrad was among the districts with the highest enrolment rate in 5th–8th grade once again in 2016 though the district’s average grade at matriculation exams was still lagging behind. Razgrad remained one of the districts with the greatest shortage of doctors. Registered crimes were relatively few and their clearance rate was high. Low urbanization and low population density in the district made connecting people to sewerage difficult though the entire network is serviced by wastewater treatment plants. In 2016 the district of Razgrad joined the top three districts in terms of library visits.
In 2015 the economy in the district of Razgrad interrupted its five-year long upward trend of GDP per capita as GDP dropped to 7,778 BGN. The shrinkage was by 5% while in the country as a whole there was a 7% growth. This left the district’s GDP far from the national average of 12,339 BGN/person in 2015. In the meantime, salaries kept their stable growth to reach 8,702 BGN annually (vs. 10,535 BGN nationally) but income growth slowed down reaching 4,182 BGN/household member (vs. 5,167 BGN nationally) in 2016. Low incomes explain the relatively lower living standard in the district. The share of population living in material deprivation and that of people living below the national poverty line in Razgrad remained higher than national average levels once again in 2015.
Economic activity in the district (65.5%) remained below the national average of 68.7% once again in 2016. Employment increased but was still considerably below the national average: 56.0% vs. the national average at 63.4%. At the same time, the unemployment rate remained among the highest in the country though it kept dropping after the beginning of post-crisis recovery. In 2016 it reached 14.6% (vs. 7.7% nationally). Labor market problems were related to the deteriorated educational structure of the population aged 25–64. In 2016 the share of people with tertiary education in the district was 18% (vs. 28% nationally) while that of people with primary and lower education was twice that size – 36% (vs. 18% nationally).
Unemployment rate of the population aged 15-64 (annual average) (2016)
Entrepreneurial activity remained low in the district. Razgrad was one of the districts with the smallest relative number of working enterprises in 2015: 35 per 1,000 people while the national rate was 55 per 1,00 people. Investment was relatively low though FTA acquisition expenditures rose once again in 2015 to reach 1,865 BGN/person (vs. 2,973 BGN/person nationally). In FDI there was an outflow to 901 euro/person (vs. 3,250 euro/person cumulative rate in the country as a whole) as of the end of 2015. EU fund utilization was also low in the district. As of 30th June 2017 the sums paid to beneficiaries from operational programs reached 1,159 BGN/person (vs. 1,344 BGN/person nationally). Kubrat and Isperih were the municipalities with most utilized funds, while those in Tsar Kaloyan and Samuil utilized least funds.
Number of non-financial companies per 1,000 people (2015)
Road density was higher in Razgrad than in the country as a whole but the share of highways and first class roads remained considerably lower in 2015: 11% (vs. 19% nationally). The quality of roads was also dramatically lower. In 2016 only 28% of road surfaces were in good quality while in Bulgaria as a whole they were 42%. The share of households with Internet access was close to the national average in 2016 but the share of people using it remained considerably below average levels nationwide. 55% of the local inhabitants aged 16–74 had used the Internet in the previous 12 months compared with the national average rate of 63%.
The average level of the main local taxes and fees in the district’s municipalities was close to the national average rate in 2017 once again. Not a single municipality made changes to its rates compared to 2016. The greatest difference was registered in the annual license tax for retailers and the annual taxi transport tax, both rates being lower in the district’s municipalities. The average size of the annual license tax for retailers with up to 100 sq. m of sales space in Razgrad municipalities was 9.16 BGN for best shopping location of the space while it was 12.85 BGN in the country as a whole. The average rate of the tax taxi transport in the district on the other hand was 329 BGN annually while the national average rate was 525 BGN.
Evaluations on the work of municipal administrations in the district of Razgrad have traditionally been above average. Local administrations’ self-evaluations for development of electronic government and availability of one-stop shop services rose in 2017, and remained slightly higher than their national average level. Municipal administrations’ transparency on its part was evaluated as close to 63% that year while the national average rate was 59%. The administration of the city of Razgrad was once again the most transparent one with a rating of 79%. With the increased coverage of the cadastral map in the municipality of Samuil in 2016 the district overtook the national average level (23% of the territory) with its 25%. Only the Zavet municipality had no coverage yet.
Share of territory included in cadastral map (2016)
In 2016, the age dependency ratio in the district was lower than the national average for the first time. The cause was the below-average natural population growth and intensive outmigration. In the last three years Razgrad’s natural growth rate stayed around –8‰, while the national average rate was about –6‰. In 2016 the net migration rate dropped further to reach –7.7‰, which placed Razgrad among the five districts with the fastest net exodus. In 2016 the district remained third (after those of Kardzhali and Silistra) in terms of least population living in urban areas – 47% in the district vs. 73% in the country as a whole. Razgrad was also one of the districts where population density was lowest: 879 people/sq. km while the national average was 1,548 people/sq. km.
In 2016 Razgrad was once again among the districts with the highest enrolment rate in 5th–8th grade though that rate was on the decline following the general tendency in the country. At the same time, the share of repeaters and dropouts from primary and secondary education remained above national average levels. The average grade of Razgrad students at matriculation exams in BLL was once again lagging behind that of students elsewhere in the country in 2017: 3.92 in Razgrad vs. 4.22 nationally, whereas the share of fail grades was over 12% (vs. less than 8% nationally). The number of students in the local branch of Ruse University (the single tertiary education establishment in the district) declined in the last academic year, following the general trend in the country.
Students in colleges and universities 1000 people (2016)
Razgrad was one of the districts where the shortage of doctors was most serious. In 2016 there were 2,404 people per GP (vs. 1,611 people per GP nationally) and 754 people per specialist (vs. 530 nationally. The number of beds in general hospitals was comparable with the national average: 4.8 beds per 1,000 people (vs. 5.1 beds per 1,000 people nationally). Razgrad continued to be among the districts with the highest share of health-insured people and that share even went up the previous year, while it dropped in the country as a whole, to reach 93% (vs. 88% nationally). In 2016 infant mortality rates dropped dramatically to turn Razgrad into the district with the lowest infant mortality in the country.
Judge workloads and the speed of justice administration in the district were close to the national average levels in 2016. A criminal judge at the district court saw an average of 9.1 cases a month (vs. 9.4 cases a month per judge nationally). In 2016 the share of pending criminal cases rose to overtake national average levels: it reached 8.7% when the national average rate was 8.3%. On the other hand, the share of cases closed within 3 months was traditionally higher in Razgrad district than it was in the country as a whole. Razgrad was one of the districts with relatively small numbers of registered crimes and, following a tendency similar to that in other districts, their clearance rate significantly increased in 2016: registered crimes against the person and property were 9.9% per 1,000 people (vs. 12.6% per 1,000 people nationally) and cleared crimes reached 69%, considerably higher than the national clearance rate of 48%.
Share of criminal cases closed in the first 3 months (2016)
The relatively low urbanization and population density in Razgrad district entailed difficulties in sewerage connectivity. In 2015 once again the district had the lowest share of population living in areas with public sewerage – 42% (vs. 76% nationally). The entire sewerage system was connected with wastewater treatment plants.
Air pollution and generated household waste, on the other hand, were lower than national average rates. Carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere were many times lower: 47 t/sq. km compared with the average of 324 t/sq. km in the country in 2015. Generated household waste dropped to 406 kg/person annually while the national average was 422 kg/person annually.
Household waste generated per capita of serviced population (2015)
Since the opening of the first cinema in the district, visits were on the rise constantly to reach 148 per 1,000 people while the national average rate was 778 per 1,000 people in 2016. Museum visits in the district have also been increasing during the last few years reaching 421 per 1,000 people (vs. 743 per 1,000 people nationally). Visits to local theaters (313 per 1,000 people) remained close to the national average rate of 322 per 1,000 people. In 2016 a peak was registered in library visits and Razgrad district joined the top three districts (after Veliko Tarnovo and Silistra) with the greatest number of visits: 1,416 per 1,000 people while the national average rate was 605 per 1,000 people.
Number of visits to cinemas per 1,000 people of the average annual population (2016)