Over the last two decades, GDP in Smolyan district has been growing, though at a slower rate than the average one for the country’s economy, and so the margin between them has widened. Incomes, however, continue to exceed the national averages, which explains the relatively low poverty levels in the district. Population ageing remains among the major challenges for the continuing development of the local labor market. FTA expenditures per capita have been rising considerably. FDI has remained at persistently low levels. The specific geographic location of the district as a border region and its mountainous terrain account for its relatively underdeveloped infrastructure. Smolyan ranks among the districts with relatively low local tax rates.

The population of the district is among the fastest ageing in the country. Smolyan continues to rank among the leaders in the education category. Its students are very high achievers, the number of teachers is high, and the share of dropouts is low. The share of people with health insurance is among the highest in the country. Access to GPs is also very good. Smolyan district ranks first in the whole of Bulgaria in the public order and security category. Delivery of justice isspeedy, the crime rate is low, and the detection rate is high. Against the district’s relatively low level of urbanization, the share of its population living in settlements with public sewerage networks is relatively high. The intensity of its cultural life is low.

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