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Banskobystrický kraj - Characteristic of the region
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Banskobystrický kraj - Characteristic of the region

12.01.2022 |

Location, area, geographical conditions

Banskobystrický kraj is the largest region of the Slovak Republic with an area of 9 454 km2.  Its share of the total territory of ​​Slovakia is 19.3%. It is located in the southern part of central Slovakia, bordering the Republic of Hungary in the south, Košický kraj in the east, Trenčiansky kraj and Žilinský kraj in the north and Nitriansky kraj in the west.

The territory of the region belongs to the basin of ​​the rivers Hron, Ipeľ and Slaná. Banskobystrický kraj is characterized by a great geomorphologic diversity, from alpine locations in the north of the area, through rugged central part with mountains interrupted by valleys, to the slightly undulating lowlands of Juhoslovenská kotlina basin in the south of the area.

The highest point of Banskobystrický kraj is the hill Ďumbier (2 045 m above sea level) located in Nízke Tatry mountain in Brezno districts. The lowest point in the region is the outflow of Ipeľ river from the region in the cadastral area of the municipality Ipeľské Predmostie in Veľký Krtíš district (126 m above sea level).

The region has a long tradition in the field of mining. Deposits of gold, silver and copper had been used since the 13th century, especially in towns Kremnica, Banská Štiavnica and Banská Bystrica. At present, the local mining activities are in decline and the branch of mining is moving to areas with non-metallic minerals. Significant silicate deposits are located in the silicate zone near Lučenec with the occurrence of non-metallic ceramic, refractory and various additional raw materials for the production of ceramic materials and glass. Magnesite ore is mined and processed in the vicinity of Revúca. Building stone occurs mainly in the north, brick raw materials in Poltár district, gravel in the southern districts and quartzite in Žiar nad Hronom district.

There are 4 national parks – Národný park Nízke Tatry, Národný park Slovenský raj, Národný park Muránska planina, Národný park Veľká Fatra, 4 protected landscape areas - Poľana, Cerová vrchovina, Štiavnické vrchy and Ponitrie and 10 national natural monuments, 54 natural monuments, 34 national nature reserves, 87 nature reserves, 40 protected areas and 8 bird protection areas.

According to the territorial-administrative arrangement in compliance with the Act of the National Council of the Slovak Republic No 221/1996 Coll. the region is divided into 13 districts – Banská Bystrica, Banská Štiavnica, Brezno, Detva, Krupina, Lučenec, Poltár, Revúca, Rimavská Sobota, Veľký Krtíš, Zvolen, Žarnovica and Žiar nad Hronom. There are 516 municipalities, 24 of them are towns. The largest district is Rimavská Sobota district (it occupies 15.6% of the regional area), the smallest is okres Banská Štiavnica (it occupies only 3.1% of the regional area). Urban population represents 52,5 % of total population. The towns with the highest population exceeding the number of 40 000 inhabitants at the end of 2020 are Banská Bystrica and Zvolen. Almost 19% of the regional population lives in them.

Demographic background

With a population of 643 102 as at December 31, 2020, Banskobystrický kraj accounted for 11.8% of the Slovak population. The population density of the region – 68 inhabitants per km2 was the lowest of all regions. The highest population density had Banská Bystrica district, where 137 inhabitants live per 1 km2, the lowest Krupina district with 38 inhabitants per 1 km2.

The natural change of population has been reaching negative values ​​for a long time. Also in 2020, less children were born (5 978) and more people died (7 496). Since 1997, there has been a total population decrease, because the region is also losing population due to migration. In 2020 an emigration exceeded a migration by 656 persons. The stagnation of the share of children in the age group up to 14 years and the growth of the population in the post-productive age in the last six years caused the ageing of the population. The average age of the population as of December 31, 2020 increased to 42.2 years. The ageing index also grew and reached the value 122.7.

The nuptiality began to decline in 2019. In 2020, only 2 480 engaged couples married. The number of marriages thus decreased by 23.3% compared previous year. The divorces, which has not changed significantly in the last four years, fell by 13.2% in 2020. There were divorced 970 marriages in the region.

Economic and social specifics

The economically active population created 50.7% of the population. The employment rate in age 20 – 64 years had been rising slightly for a long time to 72.2% in 2020. The unemployment rate had been declining up to 2019, reaching the level of 7.9%. At the same level stayed also in 2020. The average nominal monthly earnings reached EUR 1 180 and was the second lowest in comparison with other regions. It lagged behind the national average by 11.5%.

From the view of business statistics as of December 31, 2020, there were 27.7 thousand legal persons, 81 % of them were organizations focused on profit generation and 34.4 thous. natural persons, 90.2% of them were self-employed persons. The branch of ​​wholesale, retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles covered 18.9 % of enterprises and 18.7 % of self-employed persons. Enterprises further focused their business on the sector of professional, scientific and technical activities (15 %) and industry (12.8 %). The most of self-employed persons (more than one-fifth) operated in construction.

In 2019, Banskobystrický kraj achieved a regional gross domestic product of 8 175 mill. EUR at current prices and accounted for 8.7 % of national GDP. Regional GDP recalculated per capita lagged behind the national average by 26.5 % and reached EUR 12 648 at current prices.

 Industry accounted for nearly 23 % of regional gross value added, public administration, defence, compulsory social security, health and social work for 17.9 % and trade, transport, accommodation and food service activities 17.1 %.

Medium-quality agricultural land makes up 43.1% of the regional territory. The southern part of the territory focuses mainly on agricultural production (growing cereals, maize and grapes). Meadows and pastures, located in the northern area, are used for breeding of cattle and sheep. Sheep numbers in this region have been the most numerous for a long time. The region is also characterized by the largest area covered by forests, which create almost half of the regional area. The logging (mainly in northern and north-eastern part of region) exceeds the values ​​of other regions.

The industry is mainly oriented for the production of metals and metal products, the production of other non-metallic mineral products, the production of food and beverages and the production of machinery and equipment not elsewhere classified. In 2020, turnover reached EUR 4.9 billion but in comparison with the other regions were the lowest. This sector provided working opportunities for 49.3 thous. persons, which is also the least within Slovakia.

The construction also lagged behind other regions. Construction production carried out by own employees reached EUR 371.1 million and contractually agreed construction production EUR 456.6 million. These values were the second lowest within Slovakia. There were built 1 220 dwellings in the region, most of them in Banská Bystrica district (272), Zvolen district (236) and Veľký Krtíš district (203).

The mountains and valleys in Banskobystrický kraj adversely affect the construction of the communications. Natural conditions do not allow significant development of individual modes of transport. The length of the road network in 2020 was 3 210 km, only 128 km of them were built as expressways. There were registered 364 161 motor vehicles in the region. Passenger cars created 71.4 % of them.

Education represents a network of school facilities. In 2020, there were 380 kindergartens, 265 primary schools, 27 grammar schools and 59 secondary vocational schools in the region. The Matej Bel University and the Academy of Arts have its seats in Banská Bystrica, the Ján Albrecht Music and Art Academy in Banská Štiavnica.

In 2020, the care for health of the population provided 1 572 health facilities. There were included 20 hospitals, dominated by the F. D. Roosevelt University Hospital, 1 201 outpatient health care units and 4 institutes for treatment. Spas and spa care in towns and municipalities Sliač, Kováčová, Dudince, Brusno, Číž and Sklené Teplice have also significant role.

In the field of culture, Zvolen is an important center, with seat of drama scene of the Jozef Gregor Tajovský theatre. There is annually organized a festival of drama – Zvolenské zámocké hry. The Banská Bystrica is the seat of the opera scene and ballet scene of this theatre. In 2020, there were 13 scenes in permanent operations in Banskobystrický kraj. Visitors also had at their disposal 4 galleries and 33 museums and readers could visit 240 libraries.

Banskobystrický kraj offers many cultural and natural monuments. The towns Banská Bystrica, Banská Štiavnica and Kremnica have been declared for urban monument reserves, while Banská Štiavnica has been inscribed on the World Heritage List. The municipalities Špania Dolina, Štiavnické Bane and Sebechleby - Stará Hora are monumental reservations of rural settlements. The natural beauties of the northern part of the region are widely used as centres of winter tourism. In 2020, the region was visited by 418.6 thous. visitors, who were accommodated in 625 accommodation facilities.

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