In the context of the current technological, demographic and cultural changes in Romania, EY carried out a comparative analysis of two of the country’s largest cities, Bucharest and Cluj-Napoca.
The analysis aims at identifying the main differences and rhythms of each demographic, educational, economic, cultural and tourism development. At the same time, provide a useful outlook to both residents and those who intend to open a business in one of the cities mentioned.
Bucharest is the city with the largest number of inhabitants, the most important industrial and commercial center in the country. According to Oxford Economics, in 2017, it was one of the most performing cities, with higher economic growth than the European average. This is largely due to the service sector that is increasingly important for the capital, with a share of 23% of GDP in 2017.
Cluj-Napoca, however, is ranked 29th in a ranking that measures the quality of life in 72 cities in Europe, ranking 26 places higher than Bucharest. Cluj scores better than the capital not only in terms of quality of life, but also of safety, medical facilities, transport services and traffic jam management according to Numbeo center data. The cost of rent in relation to income raises a problem in the Transylvanian city, being almost two points higher than in Bucharest (12.6 vs. 11).
Thus, the comparison between Bucharest versus Cluj-Napoca brings into attention information relevant to the economic environment, both for those who are thinking of opening a business on their own or perhaps choosing a place to develop a career.
The conclusions of the research carried out by EY Romania on the basis of the latest data from the National Institute of Statistics (NIS) and the National Trade Register Office (ONRC) show the following:
- Population growth is at a more stable pace in Cluj than in Bucharest. The population of the capital has fallen over the last 5 years analyzed (2013-2017) by approximately 55,000 inhabitants (0,7%). On the other hand, the number of inhabitants of the city of Cluj-Napoca increased by about 2 percent during this period.
- Bucharest imports human capital by attracting the largest number of immigrants compared to other cities, while Cluj records a small loss in this chapter. The increase in the number of inhabitants in Cluj in the last 5 years is based mainly on positive natural growth. By comparison, the negative natural increase registered in Bucharest has the effect of decreasing the population of the capital.
- Both cities have a steady flow of students, but Bucharest, with more than 30 universities, has the most graduates, with the potential to join the labor market.
- In Cluj, the percentage of employees in the total population is higher than in Bucharest (50% vs. 43%), even in the IT field. The Transylvanian city remains the leader in the number of employees in the field, relative to the population (1.9% vs. 1.4%).
- In the 5 years of reference, the unemployment rate at the local level is higher in the municipality of Bucharest, thus maintaining throughout the analyzed period (1.3 in 2017), compared to Cluj-Napoca (0.7 in 2017) .
- The highest rental price is registered in Cluj-Napoca, about 3% higher than in Bucharest. Also in Cluj, we see a cost of up to 20% higher for a square meter of the dwellings on the outskirts of the city. But Bucharest is more expensive for utilities (water, electricity), + 3%, but also for dining in town at the restaurant – up to 20%.
- With a number of dwellings 6 times higher than in Cluj (850,000 vs. 142,000) due to the larger size, the capital is a hillside in terms of living space. The houses of the inhabitants of Bucharest are on average smaller by about 4 square meters. And when it comes to green space, Cluj is enjoying more, with 4 square meters extra per capita (21.4 in Bucharest versus 25.3 in Cluj Napoca).
- The largest increase of the registrations of new firms and PFAs in 2017 took place in Cluj County, by 50% more compared to 2016 (5674 8532). Although the increase is higher for Cluj (50% vs. 23%), 70% more companies were set up in absolute values in Bucharest.
- Similarly, although it leads a detached country in terms of number of tourists, the capital remains behind Cluj in increasing their number from one year to another (relative growth Bucharest 23% vs. 50% in Cluj). However, the capital remains more attractive from a cultural point of view and has many cultural objectives to visit.
The data analyzed for the two cities confirms Cluj as the main competitor of the capital with the high standards of living offered, the management of the labor force through the low unemployment rate, the increase in the number of employees, implicitly the increase in the number of inhabitants and the number of tourists, developing a strategy to stimulate the economy through partnerships with local universities based on innovation, technology, research, IT.