Though the district’s GDP has been increasing, its growth has been considerably below national average. The increased activity of the working age population has led to simultaneous rising employment and falling unemployment. Investment activity in the district has been on the rise, generally, though staying below the average in the country. Road quality has continued deteriorating fast. Most local tax and fee rates have stayed below national average rates. The local administrations’ transparency rating remains higher than the national average.
During the last few years, population ageing has been faster and deeper in the district compared to the general national tendency – the main reason being the low rate of natural increase. Matriculation exam results of school leavers from the district have approached national average levels. Ruse is still one of the districts with the highest shortage of doctors. Justice administration in the district is characterized by relatively low workloads for judges and high shares of cases closed within 3 months. The district is also characterized by high connectivity to wastewater treatment plants. Cultural life has been relatively intensive.
GDP per capita kept increasing in 2015 but its growth rate of 2% was considerably below the average 7% for the country as a whole: the district’s GDP reached almost 10,000 BGN while the national average level went over 12,000 BGN. Salaries in the district also kept growing to reach 8,563 BGN annually while they reached 12,535 BGN in the country. In 2013 and 2014 incomes per household member had dropped to below-national average levels but in 2015 and 2016 Ruse was once again among the districts with incomes above national average albeit with a small difference: 5,263 BGN annually in the district vs. 5,167 on average in the country. In 2015, the share of people living in material deprivation shrank in the district whereas that of people living below the national poverty line increased considerably. Yet, the values for both indicators were close to national average figures.
Economic activity increased considerably in the district to 66.8% in 2016, thus approaching the national average level of 68.7%. The rising activity of the working age population brought about a simultaneous rise in employment and drop in unemployment. However, unemployment remained below average for the fourth year in a row, whereas employment failed to compensate the difference and stayed lower. In 2016 Ruse’s employment rate was 62.2% while the national average was 63.4%; the unemployment rate was 7.0% vs. 7.7% nationally. The educational structure of the population aged 25–64 improved in the last few years to levels close to the national average in 2016. At the same time, the ratio of demographic replacement remained low at 55.1% while the national average rate was 62.8%. In other words, there were fewer young people aged 15–19 to replace the people aged 60–64 facing retirement.
Unemployment rate of the population aged 15-64 (annual average) (2016)
On the whole, investment activity in the district increased, the number of non-financial enterprises increased to 50 per 1,000 people (vs. 55 per 1,000 people nationally) in 2015. FTA acquisition expenses also increased to reach 2,227 BGN/person (vs. 2,973 BGN/person nationally). However, FDI was lagging considerably in 2015, and there was even a 13% outflow to 1,501 euro/person cumulative as of the end of the year. By way of comparison, the national average FDI rate was almost twice that size: 3,350 euro/person. EU fund utilization increased but was also below average. As of 30th June 2017 sums paid to beneficiaries from operational programs in the district reached 1,012 BGN/person (vs. 1,344 BGN/person nationally). Once again, the municipality of Byala utilized most funds, while that of Borovo utilized least.
Number of non-financial companies per 1,000 people (2015)
Ruse is one of the chief logistics centers in the country so the density of both road and railroad networks was higher than the national average. The share of both highways and first class roads was bigger, too: 21.5% in 2015 (vs. 18.6% in the country as a whole). However, road quality was deteriorating fast and in 2016 Ruse was the district with the lowest share of road surfaces in good condition, 17.7% compared to the national average rate of 41.5%. Internet access and usage in the district have remained higher than national average rates.
In view of the fact that most local taxes and fees have been relatively low, the rating of Ruse in this category is good. The one exception is the annual license tax for retailers, the district average rate of which was relatively high in 2017. The reason was the high rate in the municipality of the city of Ruse – 17 BGN/sq. m for best shopping location while the remaining municipalities in the district had rates about 4 BGN/sq. m. The Ruse municipality was also the only one in the district to raise a local tax in 2017 – that on immovable property of legal entities.
In 2017 the local administration’s self-evaluation for development of electronic government and one-stop shop services in the district dropped, although it grew in the country as a whole. Still, the district remained among the best in promoting one-stop shop services. However, the transparency rating of local administrations rose and remained above the national average level. The city municipality of Ruse was once again rated as the most transparent one in the district while the least transparent municipal administrations were those in Slivo Pole and Byala. Some development was also noticeable in the range of the district’s cadastral map. In 2016 over 8,000 hectares of the Byala municipality were added to the cadastral map which raised the share of covered territory to 13% (vs. 23% nationally). The municipalities of Tsenovo and Vetovo still had 0% coverage.
Share of territory included in cadastral map (2016)
Population ageing has been faster and deeper in the district of Ruse compared to the general tendency in the country as a whole. Thus in 2016 the ratio of age dependency as a ratio of the population aged 65+ to that aged 0–14 was 181.2% (vs. 147.1% nationally). The main reason for the accelerated ageing trend is the low rate of natural increase. It remained –8.6‰ in 2016 (vs. –6.0‰ nationally). The net migration rate on the other hand dropped to –1.1‰ that year but its rates remained within the limits of the last 15 years. The share of urban population in the district of Ruse was relatively high in 2016: 78% (vs. 73% nationally), which was related to the fact that the relatively high population density in the district (1,727 people/sq. km vs. 1,548 people/sq. km on average in the country) had been preserved.
The tendency to a relatively fast decline in the number of children enrolled in 5th–8th grade was confirmed in the district in 2016. At 75.1% it stayed below the national average rate of 78.2% for the second year in a row. The shares of repeaters and dropouts were similar to national average levels. The 2017 matriculation exam results of students in the district were close to the national average. The district average grade at the exam in BLL was 4.17, while the national average was 4.22; the respective shares of fail grades were 6.19% for the district and 7.98% for the country. The diminishing number of university students in the district has followed the national tendency for the fourth successive year.
Students in colleges and universities 1000 people (2016)
In 2016 once again the district of Ruse remained one of those with the most serious doctor shortages. There were 2,128 people per local GP (vs. 1,611 per GP on average in the country); there were 609 people per specialist while the national average rate was 530 per specialist. The ratio of hospital beds to the population also remained lower, though rising for the fifth year in a row. The number of beds in general hospitals reached 4.4 per 1,000 people (vs. 5.1 per 1,000 people nationally). Despite doctor shortages and the relative limited number of beds, hospitalizations had been increasing in the last few years to overtake the national average number for the first time in 2016.
Administration of justice in the district of Ruse was characterized by relatively low workloads for judges and relatively speedy justice in 2016 again. Local criminal judges at the district court saw an average of 8.0 cases a month while the national average was 9.4 cases a month per judge. The share of cases closed within 3 months was 96% (vs. 89% nationally) and that of pending cases (4%) remained lower than the national average share of over 8%. In 2016, the relative number of registered crimes in the district declined for the third year in a row to reach 8.9 per 1.000 people while the national average rate was 12.6 per 1,000 people. At the same time, the clearance rate rose to 51% thus overtaking the national average of 48%.
Share of criminal cases closed in the first 3 months (2016)
In 2015 carbon dioxide emissions dropped to 199 t/sq. km while the national average rate rose to 324 t/sq. km. Generated household waste in the district also dropped (to 508 kg/person annually) but it remained considerably above the national average of 422 kg/person for 2015. Though a relatively large part of the district’s population was living in urban areas, the share of people living in areas with public sewerage (68.1%) remained below the national average of 75.5% in 2015. At the same time, the recently built wastewater treatment plants (in 2011) increased the share of the population with access to sewerage connected to wastewater treatment plants and it reached 64.6% (vs. 62.3% nationally).
Household waste generated per capita of serviced population (2015)
Cultural life in the district was relatively intensive in 2016 once again. The relative number of visits to local theaters retained a level almost twice the national average: 607 visits per 1,000 people with the national rate at 322 visits per 1,000 people. Cinema visits were also numerous: 815 visits per 1,000 people vs. 778 on average in the country. Local museums enjoyed less interest: in 2016, museum visits dropped to 404 per 1,000 people while the average national rate was 734 per 1,000 people. In 2016, a sharp drop was also registered in library visits in Ruse to below-average levels relative to the population.
Number of visits to cinemas per 1,000 people of the average annual population (2016)