GDP per capita in Ruse district has been growing, but at a significantly lower rate, and so the district is increasingly lagging behind the national averages. Poverty levels in the district are similar to the average ones in the country. Economic activity has been rising slowly but steadily in recent years, accompanied by rising employment and declining unemployment. Investment activity in Ruse district is moving closer to the national average. The infrastructural development of the district can be categorized as good. The average level of the tax burden is relatively low. Ruse district has registered a huge improvement in the assessment of the local administration and ranks among the leaders in the country.
The population continues to decline both due to the low rate of natural increase and to out-migration from the region. Ruse is among the districts with the highest level of urbanization. The performance of the students from the district in 2020 again remained close to the national average. Healthcare in Ruse district continues to suffer from a shortage of doctors. Although local criminal judges have relatively heavier workloads, the speed of adjudication remains unaffected. The emissions of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in the district are twice as low as the national average. The share of household waste handed over for treatment and recycling remains extremely low. Cultural life in Ruse district is relatively active.
GDP per capita in Ruse district has been growing, but the levels it has reached are significantly lower, and the district is increasingly lagging behind the national average. While two decades ago it was about 12-13% lower than the average one nationally, in 2018 it reached 11,800 BGN compared to 15,600 BGN in the country – a difference of 25%. Regarding salaries, the situation is almost identical – in 2018 the average gross salary in the district reached 11,200 BGN per year compared to 13,800 BGN countrywide. For the third year in a row, households’ incomes in the district were below the national average and their growth in 2019 was also lower. 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%, compared to 23% in the country, and of those living with material deprivation – 25%, versus 20% nationally.
Economic activity in Ruse district has been growing slowly but steadily in recent years, accompanied by growing employment and declining unemployment. In 2019, the economic activity rate was 72.7%, compared to 74.3% nationally. The employment rate was almost equal to the average national values – 69.6% against 70.1% countrywide, and the unemployment rate, which had been lower for a whole decade, remained below average. In 2019 it reached 3.1%, compared to 4.2% in the country. The educational structure of the workforce in Ruse district is significantly better than the national average. The share of university graduates has reached 31%, compared to 28% nationwide, and of people with primary or lower education – 11%, versus 18% in the country. A major challenge for the local labor market remains the problem of population ageing. In 2019, the replacement ratio of the population aged 15-19 to that aged 60-64 was 59%, compared to 66% in the country.
Unemployment rate of the population aged 15-64 (annual average) (2020)
In 2018, investment activity in Ruse district came close to the national average. The number of enterprises had been growing and reached 54 per 1,000 persons, compared to 59 per 1,000 persons in the country. After a two-year decline in FTA expenditures, in 2018 they again increased to 1,948 BGN/person, against 2,750 BGN/person nationally. For the first time in five years, there was a steep rise in cumulative FDI, which reached 1,964 EUR/person, versus the national average of 3,560 EUR/person. Production value has been growing at a slower pace than in the country as a whole to remain below the national averages. In 2020 its relative value reached 23,200 BGN/person, compared to 25,900 BGN/person nationally. Ruse is also lagging behind as regards the utilization of European funds. By 15 June 2020, the payments made in the district to beneficiaries under EU operational programs amounted to 1,558 BGN/person, compared to 1,976 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 (2019)
The infrastructural development of Ruse district is categorized as good. The density of the road and railway networks in the district is higher than the national average. The same applies to the share of motorways and first-class roads – the figure for 2019 is 21.6% in the district, compared to 18.6% in the country. Road quality has been a persistent problem, as only 11.5% of surfaces are in good condition, against 41.4 % nationwide. The percentage of households in the district with internet access is on the rise, and in 2019 it reached 84.4%, compared to 75.1% in the country.
Unlike most districts with a similar socio-economic profile, the average level of the tax burden in Ruse district is relatively low. Among all monitored taxes, the only one whose average rate is higher than the national average is the retail trade patent tax. The local taxes on motor vehicles and on non-gratuitous acquisition of property are about 15% lower than the average ones in the country.
Ruse district has made a huge improvement in the ratings of its local administration and ranks among the leaders in the country. In 2020, the local authorities’ self-assessment on the development of e-government and on the provision of one-stop shop services went significantly up and exceeded the national averages. There is also a big increase in the transparency of local government bodies. In 2020, the rating rose by 6 p.p. to 71.4%, which was above the national average. Within the district, the municipality with the highest rating was that of the city of Ruse. Parallel to the increasing cadastral map coverage in the country, the cadastre in Ruse district keeps enlarging the territory it includes, reaching 95.5% in 2019, compared to 91.4% nationally. Production value has been growing at a slower pace than in the country as a whole to remain below the national averages. In 2020 its relative value reached 23,200 BGN/person, compared to 25,900 BGN/person nationally. Ruse is also lagging behind as regards the utilization of European funds. By 15 June 2020, the payments made in the district to beneficiaries under EU operational programs amounted to 1,558 BGN/person, compared to 1,976 BGN/person on a national level. Within the district, the leader in utilization of EU funding is Byala municipality.
Share of territory included in cadastral map (2019)
The population in Ruse district has continued to decrease both due to the low natural growth rate and to out-migration. In 2019, the former fell to –10.2, against the national average of –6.7‰. The net migration rate went down to –4.1‰. These two processes 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%, compared to 150% in the country on average, and to those aged 15-64 years – 37.5%, versus 33.8% nationwide. Ruse is one of the districts with the highest level of urbanization – 78.2% of the population live in urban areas, while the population density is 1,657 persons/sq.km, compared to 1,510 persons/sq.km nationwide.
The number of teachers in primary and secondary schools in Ruse has been rising at a rate above the national average and in 2019 it reached 96 per 1,000 students, compared to 89 per 1,000 students in the country on average. The share of repeaters continues to be lower than nationally, although the share of dropouts from primary and secondary school still remains high. The enrolment ratio in 5th to 8th grade is still to catch up with the national average. In 2019 the figures point to 84.4%, versus 86.6% in the country on average. Students’ results for 2020 again remained close to the average ones in the country. The average score in the external assessment in mathematics after 7th grade was 35.2 p., compared to 36.3 p. nationally. The average grade in the matriculation exam in Bulgarian language and literature reached 4.25, whereas the national average was 4.20. The shrinking in the numbers of university students from the previous years has slowed down and in 2019 they reached 29 per 1,000 persons, compared to 32 per 1,000 persons nationally.
Students in colleges and universities 1000 people (2020)
In 2019, the healthcare system in Ruse district continued to suffer from a shortage of doctors. One local doctor was caring for an average of 2,155 persons from the population compared to 1,688 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 the bed capacity still remains relatively limited with 478 beds per 100,000 persons, compared to 550 per 100,000 thousand persons in the country according to the 2019 statistics. The number of patients treated in the local general hospitals is relatively low – 205.8 per 1,000 persons, compared to the average of 253.7 per 1,000 persons in the country. The share of people with health insurance and the infant mortality rate in the district remain close to the average levels in the country.
Although the workloads of the criminal judges in Ruse district are relatively big, this does not have a negative impact on the speedy delivery of justice. In 2019 one local judge heard an average of 9.6 cases a month, compared to 9.1 cases nationally. The proportion of criminal cases closed within 3 months was 95%, compared to the average of 90% nationwide. Unlike the situation with the delivery of justice, the sphere of public order and security shows relatively low crime rates, but also low detection rates. In 2019 the registered crimes against the person and property in the district decreased to 9.7 per 1,000 persons, versus the average of 11.1 per 1,000 persons nationwide. The detection rate, for its part, rose to 50.8% against 52.1% for the country on average.
Share of criminal cases closed in the first 3 months (2020)
In 2018 carbon dioxide emissions in Ruse district were twice smaller than in the country on average – 143 t/sq.km versus 274.8 t/sq.km nationally. The amounts of household waste generated in the district are close to the national average. At the same time, the share handed over for treatment and recycling remains extremely low at 17%, compared to the national average of 71%. The share of the population living in areas with access to public sewerage systems remains relatively low – 69%, versus 76% in the country on average. Still, the figures for 2018 indicate that the whole sewerage network is connected to waste water treatment plants, while the national average is 64%.
Household waste generated per capita of serviced population (2018)
In 2019 Ruse district’s cultural life remained relatively active. Visits to the local theaters and cinemas were above the national averages, while the number of museum visits was at a slightly lower level. Registered cinema visits in the district amount to 746 per 1,000 persons, versus 659 visits per 1,000 persons nationally, while theater visits are 540 per 1,000 persons, compared to 362 per 1,000 persons in the country. Museum visits have risen by over 40% to reach 565 per 1,000 persons, against 770 per 1,000 persons nationally. Library visits, however, have decreased to 592 per 1,000 persons, versus 683 per 1,000 persons nationally.
Number of visits to cinemas per 1,000 people of the average annual population (2020)