GDP in Smolyan district has been growing though at a slower rate than the country’s average, and the margin between them has widened over the past twenty years. Incomes continue to exceed the national averages. Employment rates sustain relatively low levels, and unemployment rates are high. A major challenge for the future development of the local labor market is population ageing. Investment activity in the district is low. The specific geographic location of the district as a border region and its mountainous terrain account for its relatively poorly developed infrastructure. In 2020 Smolyan again ranked among the districts with the lowest local tax rates. The transparency ratings of the local administration remain below the average ones of the country.

The population of Smolyan district is among the fastest ageing in the country. Compared to the other districts, it continues to have some of the best indicator values in the education category, with the highest teacher-student proportion and the lowest share of repeaters. Healthcare in the district is at a relatively good level. The share of people with health insurance is among the highest in the country. Smolyan district ranks first in the whole of Bulgaria in terms of security and justice. The workloads of the local judges are low, while the detection rate is the highest in the country. Smolyan is one of the districts with the lowest volumes of carbon dioxide emissions, but the share of household waste handed over for recycling and treatment is exceptionally small. The intensity of its cultural life is low.

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