GDP per capita in Ruse district has been growing, but at a significantly lower rate within the past few years, and so the district has been increasingly lagging behind the national averages. Poverty levels are similar to the average ones in the country. In 2020 there was a rally in the labor market. Employment rates went up and unemployment rates fell. Ruse is also among the districts with the most highly educated workforce. Investment activity is moving closer to the national average. Ruse is the district with the highest railway network density in the country. A bare 11.5% of the road surface is in good condition. The average level of the tax burden is close the national average. Cadastral map coverage in the district has been rising.
The rate of natural population growth continues to decline. Ruse is among the districts with the highest levels of urbanization. The performance of the students from the district is close to the average one in the country. The healthcare system continues to suffer from a shortage of doctors. In the past few years the number of hospital beds in the local general hospitals has increased but their general availability remains relatively limited. The workloads of the local criminal judges are among the heaviest in the country but this does not have a negative effect on the speed of delivery of justice. The share of household waste handed over for treatment and recycling remains extremely low. The pandemic of 2020 and the countrywide restrictions on cultural events have had a strongly negative effect on the district’s cultural life.
GDP per capita in Ruse district has been rising, but its growth rate in the past few years has been relatively low, and the district is increasingly lagging behind the national average. While two decades ago GDP in the district was lower than the country’s average by about 12–13%, in 2019 it reached 12,800 BGN, compared to 17,200 BGN in the country – a difference of 25%. Regarding salaries, the situation is almost identical – in 2019 the average gross salary in the district reached 12,300 BGN per year, compared to 15,200 BGN countrywide. For the third year in a row, in 2019 household incomes in the district stayed below the national average and their growth rate was lower as well. Poverty levels in the district in 2019 were similar to the national average. The share of the population living below the national poverty line was 22.2%, compared to 22.6% in the country, and of those living with material deprivation – 25.2%, versus 19.9% nationally.
In 2020, there was a rally in the labor market. Economic activity continued to grow and for the first time in almost ten years it rose above the national average. This increase was accompanied by growing employment and declining unemployment. The employment rate was among the highest in the country – 71.4%, against 68.5% nationally. Ruse is also among the districts with the most highly educated workforce. The share of university graduates among the population aged 25–64 has reached 31.2%, compared to 29.2% nationwide, and of people with primary or lower education – 11.7%, versus 16.9% in the country. The local labor market continues to face the challenge of population ageing. In 2020, the replacement ratio of the population aged 15–19 to that aged 60–64 was 61.5%, compared to 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 62 young people joining the workforce.
Unemployment rate of the population aged 15-64 (annual average) (2021)
In 2019, investment activity in Ruse district came close to the national average. The number of enterprises reached 54 per 1,000 persons, compared to 61 per 1,000 persons in the country. For two consecutive years, FTA acquisition expenditures increased to reach 2,053 BGN/person, against 3,155 BGN/person nationally. There was also a steep rise in accumulated FDI flows, which by the end of 2019 reached 1,992 EUR/person, versus the national average of 3,655 EUR/person. Production value went up to 25,000 BGN/person, compared to 28,000 BGN/person nationally. Utilization of European funds in Ruse has registered a significant increase though it is still lagging behind the average level in the country. By 15 June 2021, payments made in the district to beneficiaries under EU operational programs amounted to 1,917 BGN/person, compared to 2,217 BGN/person on a national level. Within the district, the leader in utilization of EU funding is Byala municipality.
Number of non-financial companies per 1,000 people (2020)
Ruse is the district with the most dense railway network in the country. The density of the road network and the share of highways and first-class roads are higher than average but road quality remains extremely low. A bare 11.5% of road surfaces are in good condition, against 41.4% nationwide, which is the lowest figure for 2019 in the whole country. The percentage of households in the district with internet access is on the decline but remains relatively high at 80.0%, compared to 78.9% in the country. The installed RES capacities are small – 0.03 kW/person. The share of households connected to a gas supply is relatively high – 3.9%, compared to the national average of 3.1%.
In 2021, the average level of the tax burden in Ruse district was close to the country’s average. Among all monitored taxes, the only one where there was a significant difference with the national average was the tax on non-gratuitous acquisition of property, which in Ruse district was lower. The local taxes on motor vehicles and retail trade were higher but they did not differ much from the average ones.
After two years without any major progress, cadastral map coverage in Ruse district rose sharply from 43% to 96% and even exceeded the national average of 91%. In 2021, the local authorities’ self-assessment on the development of e-government went down and the district’s average ratings fell below the national average. However, the self-assessments on the provision of one-stop shop administrative services achieved high scores. There was a big increase in the transparency ratings of local government bodies and they were again higher than the country’s average. Within the district, the municipalities with the highest ratings were those of Dve Mogili and Ruse city, and those with the lowest ratings were the ones in Byala and Vetovo (slightly above 50%).
Share of territory included in cadastral map (2019)
Natural population growth in Ruse district has continued to decline and in 2020 it fell to –13.5‰, against the national average of –9.5‰. Net migration increased in almost the whole country and in a great number of districts its rate was a positive value. Ruse district was no exception but its net migration rate was the unremarkable 0.7‰. These are processes that have had an extremely negative impact on the age dependency ratios in the district. The ratio of people aged 65+ to those aged 0–14 years has reached 186.6%, compared to 150.6% in the country on average, and to those aged 15–64 years – 37.8%, versus 34.1% nationwide. Ruse is among the districts with a high level of urbanization – in 2020 76.6% of the population were living in urban settlements, compared to 72.9% nationally, while the population density was 1,646 persons/sq. km, compared to 1,506 persons/sq. km in the country.
The number of teachers in primary and secondary schools in Ruse has been falling but remains above the national average. The share of repeaters remains lower than nationally and is decreasing even further, although the share of dropouts from primary and secondary school still remains high. The enrolment ratio in 5th to 8th grade still fails to catch up with the national average, with 84.5%, versus the national average of 86.5% in 2020. Students’ results for 2021 again remained close to the average ones in the country. The average score in the external examination in mathematics after 7th grade rose to 39.1 points, compared to 37.9 points nationally. The average grade in the State matriculation exam in Bulgarian language and literature was down to 4.19, whereas the national average was 4.21. The shrinking in the numbers of university students from previous years has slowed down and in the past three years they were 29 per 1,000 persons, compared to 32 per 1,000 persons nationally.
Students in colleges and universities 1000 people (2021)
In 2020, the healthcare system in Ruse district continued to suffer from a shortage of doctors. One local doctor was caring for an average of 2,254 persons from the population, compared to 1,727 people per doctor in the country. The number of specialist physicians was also relatively low. In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of beds in the local general hospitals, but bed availability still remains relatively limited. Thus, in 2020 there were 5.04 beds per 1,000 persons, compared to 5.52 per 1,000 persons in the country. The number of patients treated in the local general hospitals was higher than the national average – 146 per 1,000 persons, compared to 138 per 1,000 persons in the country. The infant mortality rate in the district has fallen considerably and at 2‰ in 2020, it was the lowest in the whole country where the average for that year was over 5‰. The share of people with health insurance has dropped to 87.7% and is lower than the national average of 88.7%.
Although the workloads of the criminal judges in Ruse district were again relatively heavy in 2020, this did not have a negative impact on the speed of delivery of justice. One local judge heard an average of 11.4 cases a month, compared to 8.6 cases per one judge countrywide. The proportion of criminal cases closed within 3 months was 95%, compared to the average of 90% nationwide, and that of pending cases – 7%, versus 11% nationally. The crime rate in Ruse district is relatively low, and the detection rate relatively high. In 2020, the registered crimes against the person and property in the district constituted 8.9 per 1,000 persons, versus the average of 9.9 per 1,000 persons nationwide. The detection rate, for its part, rose to 56.9%, against 52.1% for the country on average.
Share of criminal cases closed in the first 3 months (2021)
Carbon dioxide emissions in Ruse district are relatively low. In 2018, the amounts of household waste generated in the district were close to the national average. At the same time, the share handed over for treatment and recycling remained extremely low at 17%, compared to the national average of 71%. The share of the population with access to public sewerage systems remains relatively low – 68.9%, versus 76.4% in the country on average. Nevertheless, in 2019 the whole sewerage network was already connected to wastewater treatment plants, compared to the national average of 64.6%.
Household waste generated per capita of serviced population (2020)
The pandemic and the countrywide restrictions on cultural events in 2020 left their negative impact on Ruse district’s cultural life no less than in the rest of the country. The number of visits to the local museums decreased by half – 51%, compared to 58% nationally, and dropped to 277 per 1,000 persons, versus 322 per 1,000 persons nationwide. Library visits were also reduced by half (whereas in the country they shrank to 1/3) and numbered 303 per 1,000 persons, compared to 480 per 1,000 persons in the country. Visits to the cinema shrank by 70% to 224 per 1,000 persons, though their levels remained above the national average of 190 per 1,000 persons.
Number of visits to cinemas per 1,000 people of the average annual population (2021)