Demographics of Bulgaria
Bulgaria population pyramid in 2020
PopulationDecrease 6,445,481(31st of December, 2023) [1]
Fertility rateIncrease 1.81 (2023)
Age structure
0–14 yearsSteady 14.4%
15–64 yearsDecrease 63.8%
65 and overNegative increase 21.8% (2020)
Sex ratio
At birth1.06 male(s)/female
Under 151.05 male(s)/female
15–64 years0.97 male(s)/female
65 and over0.68 male(s)/female
Nationality
Nationalitynoun: Bulgarian(s) adjective: Bulgarian
Major ethnicBulgarian (84.8%)
Minor ethnicTurkish/ Balkan Gagauz (8.8%)
Roma (4.9%)
Other and unknown (1.5%)
Language
OfficialBulgarian (85.2%)

The demography of the Republic of Bulgaria is monitored by the National Statistical Institute of Bulgaria. Demographic features of the population of Bulgaria include population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and others.

Bulgaria has a Human Development Index of 0.799, ranking 70th in the world in 2022[2] and holds the 38th position in Newsweek's rankings of the world's best countries to live in, measuring health, education, political environment and economic dynamism.[3]

Demographic history

Census population and average annual growth rate
YearPop.±% p.a.
1880 2,007,919—    
1887 3,154,375+6.67%
1892 3,310,713+0.97%
1900 3,744,283+1.55%
1905 4,035,575+1.51%
1910 4,337,513+1.45%
1920 4,846,971+1.12%
1926 5,478,741+2.06%
1934 6,077,939+1.31%
1946 7,029,349+1.22%
1956 7,613,709+0.80%
1965 8,227,866+0.87%
1975 8,727,771+0.59%
1985 8,948,649+0.25%
1992 8,487,317−0.75%
2001 7,928,901−0.75%
2011 7,364,570−0.74%
2021 6,519,789−1.21%
Source: Demographic history of Bulgaria

Various estimates have put Bulgaria's medieval population at 1.1 million in 700 AD and 2.6 million in 1365.[4] At the 2011 census, the population inhabiting Bulgaria was 7,364,570 in total, but the 2021 Census calculated that the population had declined to 6.5 million.[5][6] The peak was in 1989, the year when the borders opened after a half of a century of communist regime, when the population numbered 9,009,018.

Historical population of Bulgaria, 1812 to 2023
Graphs are unavailable due to technical issues. There is more info on Phabricator and on MediaWiki.org.
Graphs are unavailable due to technical issues. There is more info on Phabricator and on MediaWiki.org.

Note: Crude migration change (per 1000) is an extrapolation [7]

Graphs are unavailable due to technical issues. There is more info on Phabricator and on MediaWiki.org.

Vital statistics

Vital Statistics 1875 to 1915

The total fertility rate is the number of children born per woman. It is based on fairly good data for the entire period. Sources: Our World in Data and Gapminder Foundation.[8]

Years 1875 1876 1877 1878 1879 1880[8]
Total Fertility Rate in Bulgaria 5.16 5.05 4.95 4.84 4.73 4.62
Years 1881 1882 1883 1884 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889 1890[8]
Total Fertility Rate in Bulgaria 4.52 4.92 5.16 5.16 5.04 4.37 5.15 5.05 4.92 4.7
Years 1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899 1900[8]
Total Fertility Rate in Bulgaria 5.24 4.82 4.69 5.09 5.45 5.55 5.7 5.28 5.45 5.67
Years 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910[8]
Total Fertility Rate in Bulgaria 5.7 5.73 5.76 5.8 5.83 5.77 5.72 5.66 5.6 5.55
Years 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915[8]
Total Fertility Rate in Bulgaria 5.52 5.48 5.45 5.42 5.39

Vital statistics 1900–1915

[9][10][11]

Average population Live births Deaths Natural change Crude birth rate (per 1000) Crude death rate (per 1000) Natural change (per 1000)
1900 3,710,000 157,000 84,000 73,000 42.3 22.6 19.7
1901 3,740,000 141,000 87,000 54,000 37.7 23.3 14.4
1902 3,800,000 149,000 91,000 58,000 39.2 23.9 15.3
1903 3,850,000 159,000 88,000 71,000 41.3 22.9 18.4
1904 3,910,000 167,000 84,000 83,000 42.7 21.5 21.2
1905 4,000,000 174,000 87,000 87,000 43.5 21.8 21.8
1906 4,100,000 179,000 91,000 88,000 43.7 22.2 21.5
1907 4,150,000 180,000 92,000 88,000 43.4 22.2 21.2
1908 4,200,000 169,000 102,000 67,000 40.2 24.3 16.0
1909 4,280,000 173,000 113,000 60,000 40.4 26.4 14.0
1910 4,350,000 180,000 100,000 80,000 41.4 23.0 18.4
1911 4,400,000 176,000 94,000 82,000 40.0 21.4 18.6
1912 4,430,000 185,000 91,000 94,000 41.8 20.5 21.2
1913 4,200,000 108,000 122,000 -14,000 25.7 29.0 -3.3
1914 4,240,000 191,000 88,000 103,000 45.0 20.8 24.3
1915 4,280,000 172,000 85,000 87,000 40.2 19.9 20.3

Vital statistics 1916–1940

Average population Live births Deaths Natural change Crude birth rate (per 1000) Crude death rate (per 1000) Natural change (per 1000) Total fertility rates[8]
1916 4,660,000 99,000 97,000 2,000 21.2 20.8 0.4 5.38
1917 4,690,000 81,000 99,000 -18,000 17.3 21.1 -3.8 5.37
1918 4,740,000 100,000 152,000 -52,000 21.1 32.1 -11.0 5.36
1919 4,790,000 157,000 97,000 60,000 32.8 20.3 12.5 5.35
1920 4,850,000 193,000 104,000 89,000 39.8 21.4 18.4 5.35
1921 4,890,000 197,000 106,000 91,000 40.3 21.7 18.6 5.27
1922 5,010,000 203,000 106,000 97,000 40.5 21.2 19.4 5.19
1923 5,090,000 192,000 108,000 84,000 37.7 21.2 16.5 5.11
1924 5,210,000 207,000 108,000 99,000 39.7 20.7 19.0 5.03
1925 5,310,000 196,000 102,000 94,000 36.9 19.2 17.7 4.94
1926 5,420,000 203,000 93,000 110,000 37.5 17.2 20.3 4.80
1927 5,510,000 183,000 112,000 71,000 33.2 20.3 12.9 4.65
1928 5,590,000 185,000 99,000 86,000 33.1 17.7 15.4 4.50
1929 5,670,000 173,000 103,000 70,000 30.5 18.2 12.3 4.36
1930 5,740,000 180,000 93,000 87,000 31.4 16.2 15.2 4.05
1931 5,800,000 171,000 98,000 73,000 29.5 16.9 12.6 3.80
1932 5,884,000 186,000 96,000 90,000 31.6 16.3 15.3 4.07
1933 5,961,000 174,000 93,000 81,000 29.2 15.6 13.6 3.76
1934 6,039,000 181,795 85,046 96,749 30.1 14.1 16.0 3.88
1935 6,102,000 160,951 89,086 71,865 26.4 14.6 11.8 3.39
1936 6,154,000 159,146 87,723 71,423 25.9 14.3 11.6 3.33
1937 6,196,000 150,771 84,674 66,097 24.3 13.7 10.7 3.12
1938 6,244,000 142,415 85,373 57,042 22.8 13.7 9.1 2.92
1939 6,292,000 138,883 84,150 54,733 22.1 13.4 8.7 2.81
1940 6,341,000 140,564 85,046 55,518 22.2 13.4 8.8 2.84

Vital statistics 1941 to present

Source: National Statistical Institute[12][13]

Average population (from 2002 population on December 31) Live births Deaths Natural change Crude birth rate (per 1000) Crude death rate (per 1000) Natural change (per 1000) Total fertility rates[fn 1]
1941 6,715,100 147,293 85,011 62,282 21.9 12.7 9.3 2.80
1942 6,771,100 153,272 88,082 65,190 22.6 13.0 9.6 2.91
1943 6,827,600 148,840 88,386 60,454 21.8 13.0 8.9 2.79
1944 6,884,600 151,013 94,082 56,931 22.0 13.7 8.3 2.83
1945 6,942,200 166,960 103,591 63,369 24.1 14.9 9.1 3.09
1946 7,000,200 179,226 95,799 83,427 25.6 13.7 11.9 3.29
1947 7,063,700 169,501 94,395 75,106 24.0 13.4 10.7 3.06
1948 7,130,100 175,771 89,927 85,844 24.7 12.6 12.0 3.16
1949 7,195,100 177,734 84,675 93,059 24.7 11.8 12.9 3.17
1950 7,251,000 182,571 74,134 108,437 25.2 10.2 15.0 2.94
1951 7,258,200 152,803 77,364 75,439 21.1 10.7 10.4 2.45
1952 7,274,900 154,014 84,254 69,760 21.2 11.6 9.6 2.44
1953 7,346,100 153,220 68,055 85,165 20.9 9.3 11.6 2.41
1954 7,423,300 149,902 68,384 81,518 20.2 9.2 11.0 2.36
1955 7,499,400 150,978 67,960 83,018 20.1 9.1 11.1 2.41
1956 7,575,800 147,910 71,153 76,757 19.5 9.4 10.1 2.36
1957 7,651,300 141,035 65,807 75,228 18.4 8.6 9.8 2.26
1958 7,727,600 138,294 60,734 77,560 17.9 7.9 10.0 2.23
1959 7,797,800 136,892 73,850 63,042 17.5 9.4 8.1 2.23
1960 7,867,374 140,082 63,665 76,417 17.7 8.1 9.7 2.31
1961 7,943,118 137,861 62,562 75,299 17.3 7.8 9.4 2.29
1962 8,012,946 134,148 69,640 64,508 16.7 8.7 8.0 2.24
1963 8,078,145 132,143 66,057 66,086 16.3 8.1 8.1 2.21
1964 8,144,340 130,958 64,479 66,479 16.0 7.9 8.2 2.19
1965 8,204,168 125,791 66,970 58,821 15.3 8.1 7.2 2.09
1966 8,258,057 123,039 68,366 54,673 14.9 8.3 6.6 2.03
1967 8,310,226 124,582 74,696 49,886 14.9 9.0 6.0 2.02
1968 8,369,603 141,460 72,176 69,284 16.8 8.6 8.2 2.27
1969 8,434,172 143,060 80,183 62,877 16.9 9.5 7.5 2.27
1970 8,489,574 138,745 77,095 61,650 16.3 9.1 7.2 2.17
1971 8,536,395 135,422 82,805 52,617 15.8 9.7 6.2 2.10
1972 8,576,200 131,316 84,174 47,142 15.3 9.8 5.5 2.03
1973 8,620,967 139,713 81,470 58,243 16.2 9.4 6.8 2.15
1974 8,678,745 149,196 85,239 63,957 17.1 9.8 7.3 2.29
1975 8,720,742 144,668 89,974 54,694 16.6 10.3 6.3 2.23
1976 8,758,599 144,929 88,348 56,581 16.5 10.1 6.5 2.24
1977 8,804,183 141,702 94,362 47,340 16.1 10.7 5.4 2.21
1978 8,814,032 136,442 92,445 43,997 15.5 10.5 5.0 2.15
1979 8,825,940 135,358 94,403 40,955 15.3 10.7 4.6 2.16
1980 8,861,535 128,190 97,950 30,240 14.4 11.0 3.4 2.05
1981 8,891,117 124,372 95,441 28,931 14.0 10.7 3.2 2.00
1982 8,917,457 124,166 100,293 23,873 13.9 11.2 2.7 2.01
1983 8,939,738 122,993 102,182 20,811 13.7 11.4 2.3 2.01
1984 8,960,679 122,303 101,419 20,884 13.6 11.3 2.3 2.01
1985 8,960,547 118,955 107,485 11,470 13.3 12.0 1.3 1.97
1986 8,958,171 120,078 104,039 16,039 13.4 11.6 1.8 2.02
1987 8,971,359 116,672 107,213 9,459 13.0 11.9 1.1 1.96
1988 8,981,446 117,440 107,385 10,055 13.1 11.9 1.1 1.97
1989 8,876,972 112,289 106,902 5,387 12.8 12.2 0.6 1.90
1990 8,718,289 105,180 108,608 -3,428 12.1 12.5 -0.4 1.82
1991 8,632,367 95,910 110,423 -14,513 11.2 12.8 -1.7 1.66
1992 8,540,164 89,134 107,998 -18,864 10.5 12.7 -2.2 1.55
1993 8,472,313 84,400 109,540 -25,140 10.0 12.9 -3.0 1.46
1994 8,443,591 79,442 111,827 -32,385 9.4 13.3 -3.8 1.37
1995 8,406,067 71,967 114,670 -42,703 8.6 13.7 -5.1 1.23
1996 8,362,826 72,188 117,056 -44,868 8.7 14.0 -5.4 1.23
1997 8,312,068 64,125 121,861 -57,736 7.7 14.7 -6.9 1.09
1998 8,256,786 65,361 118,190 -52,829 7.9 14.4 -6.4 1.11
1999 8,210,624 72,290 111,786 -39,496 8.8 13.6 -4.8 1.23
2000 8,170,172 73,679 115,087 -41,408 9.0 14.1 -5.1 1.27
2001 7,913,300 68,180 112,368 -44,188 8.5 14.0 -5.5 1.24
2002[14] 7,845,841 66,499 112,617 -46,118 8.5 14.4 -5.9 1.21
2003 7,801,273 67,359 111,927 -44,568 8.7 14.4 -5.7 1.23
2004 7,761,049 69,886 110,110 -40,224 9.1 14.3 -5.2 1.29
2005 7,718,750 71,075 113,374 -42,299 9.3 14.8 -5.5 1.31
2006 7,679,290 73,978 113,438 -39,460 9.7 14.9 -5.2 1.38
2007 7,640,200 75,349 113,004 -37,655 10.0 15.0 -5.0 1.42
2008 7,606,600 77,712 110,523 -32,811 10.4 14.8 -4.4 1.48
2009 7,563,710 80,956 108,068 -27,112 10.9 14.5 -3.6 1.57
2010 7,504,868 75,513 110,165 -34,652 10.0 14.6 -4.6 1.49
2011 7,327,224 70,846 108,258 -37,412 9.6 14.7 -5.1 1.51
2012 7,284,552 69,121 109,281 -40,160 9.5 15.0 -5.5 1.50
2013 7,245,677 66,578 104,345 -37,767 9.2 14.4 -5.2 1.48
2014 7,202,198 67,585 108,952 -41,367 9.4 15.1 -5.7 1.52
2015[15] 7,153,784 65,950 110,117 -44,167 9.2 15.3 -6.2 1.53
2016[16] 7,101,859 64,984 107,580 -42,596 9.1 15.1 -6.0 1.54
2017[17] 7,050,034 63,955 109,791 -45,836 9.0 15.5 -6.5 1.56
2018[18] 7,000,039 62,197 108,526 -46,329 8.9 15.4 -6.6 1.56
2019[19] 6,951,482 61,538 108,083 -46,545 8.8 15.5 -6.7 1.58
2020[20] 6,916,548 59,086 124,735 -65,649 8.5 18.0 -9.5 1.56
2021[21] 6,838,937 58,678 148,995 -90,317 9.0 22.9 -13.9 1.58
2022[22] 6,447,710 56,596 118,814 -62,218 8.8 18.4 -9.6 1.78[23]
2023[24] 6,445,481 57,197 101,006 -43,809 8.9 15.7 -6.8 1.81[25]

Current vital statistics

[26]

Period Live births Deaths Natural increase
January - March 2023 12,550 24,611 -12,061
January - March 2024 11,772 23,432 -11,660
Difference Decrease -778 (-6.19%) Positive decrease -1,179 (-4.79%) Increase -401

Birth rates and fertility

Historical birth and fertility rates

The first reliable data about fertility and natural increase rates in the Bulgarian lands date back to the mid-1800s.

According to Turkish statistician Kemal Karpat, Non-Muslims, Bulgarians included, in the Ottoman Empire received a remarkable boost in fertility in the early 1830s. Their average growth rate climbed up to 2% per year, compared to zero among Muslims, who suffered from demographic stagnation.[27]

The same trend continued well after Bulgaria's Liberation from Ottoman rule in 1878.[28] Until the early 1890s, Muslim birth rates in Bulgaria hesitated in the low 20s, dwarfed by rates of + 40‰ among Orthodox Christians, while natural increase rates hovered around zero.[28] The ongoing Muslim demographic crisis and the heavy migration to Turkey were the two primary reasons for the rapid decrease in Bulgaria's Muslim and Turkish population between 1880 and 1910, from 28.7% in 1880 to 13.8% in 1910 for Muslims and from 26.2% to 10.7% for Turks.

Muslim birth and natural increase rates started climbing slowly from the late 1890s but only surpassed Orthodox ones in 1924. Nevertheless, it was not the Eastern Orthodox but rather Bulgaria's Roman Catholics that had the highest birth rate during the period, though usually offset by very high mortality rates.

Average Number of Births & Deaths, Average Birth Rate, Death Rate and Rate of Natural Increase in the Principality of Bulgaria by Period and Confession[28][29][30]
1891–1894 Averages by Confession
Confession Live births per year Birth rate Deaths per year Death rate Rate of natural increase
Number Number
Eastern Orthodox 104,749 40.1 78,165 30.0 10.1
Muslims 14,972 23.3 13,924 21.8 1.5
Jews 1,038 36.6 684 24.1 12.5
Roman Catholics 911 40.3 901 39.8 0.5
Armenian Gregorians 210 31.6 173 26.2 5.4
Protestants 49 20.5 35 14.7 5.8
TOTAL 121,929 36.7 93,883 28.4 8.3
1899–1902 Averages by Confession
Live births per year Birth rate Deaths per year Death rate Rate of natural increase
Number Number
125,151 41.4 70,608 23.4 18.0
20,071 31.2 15,786 24.5 6.7
1,295 38.5 551 16.4 22.1
1,163 40.7 818 28.6 12.1
383 27.7 298 21.6 6.1
119 26.3 70 15.5 10.8
148,182 39.6 88,081 23.5 16.1
1904–1907 Averages by Confession
Live births per year Birth rate Deaths per year Death rate Rate of natural increase
Number Number
148,076 44.2 72,816 21.8 22.4
23,122 38.3 14,041 23.3 15.0
1,288 34.2 518 13.7 20.5
1,321 44.5 785 26.4 18.1
358 28.3 279 22.1 6.2
182 32.2 85 15.1 17.1
174,347 43.2 88,524 21.9 21.3
1909–1912 Averages by Confession
Confession Live births per year Birth rate Deaths per year Death rate Rate of natural increase
Number Number
Eastern Orthodox 151,155 41.5 82,006 23.0 18.5
Muslims 23,896 39.7 15,892 26.4 13.3
Jews 1,234 30.8 532 13.3 17.5
Roman Catholics 1,361 42.4 857 26.7 15.7
Armenian Gregorians 298 24.1 241 19.6 4.5
Protestants 194 30.1 108 17.3 12.8
TOTAL 178,138 41.1 99,636 23.0 18.1
1919–1922 Averages by Confession
Live births per year Birth rate Deaths per year Death rate Rate of natural increase
Number Number
159,843 39.3 85,295 21.0 18.3
24,346 35.2 16,079 23.3 11.9
1,158 26.7 536 12.4 14.3
1,372 40.2 830 24.4 15.8
298 27.5 251 23.1 4.4
198 35.3 92 16.4 18.9
187,233 38.8 103,083 21.3 17.5
1925–1928 Averages by Confession
Live births per year Birth rate Deaths per year Death rate Rate of natural increase
Number Number
156,839 34.3 82,220 18.0 16.3
31,575 40.0 17,458 22.1 17.9
1,032 22.2 515 11.1 11.1
1,566 38.8 878 21.7 17.1
646 25.5 434 17.1 8.4
221 32.8 108 16.0 16.8
191,890 35.0 101,613 18.5 16.5

In the 1930s and 1940s, ethnic Bulgarians completed stage 2 of their demographic transition, and crude birth rate among them fell to a mere 23.3‰ by 1946, or twice as low as the birth rate of Bulgaria's two largest minorities, Turks (40.9‰) and Roma (47.2‰).[31] At the same time, due to higher mortality, the rate of natural increase among Bulgarian Turks was almost identical to that among ethnic Bulgarians (12.1‰ vs. 11.1‰), while the rate among the Romani was twice as high (23.1‰).[31]

Present-day

A total of 64,984 live births were recorded in Bulgaria in 2016, giving the country a crude birth rate of 9.1‰.[32]

Bulgaria has a low total fertility rate of 1.58 children per woman (according to the 2021 Census). This is up significantly from the late 1990s, but still below replacement and not enough to prevent further population decline, especially with emigration. Provinces with large Roma populations (for example Sliven, Montana and Yambol) tend to have higher fertility rates (and higher death rates) compared to other areas, whereas Turkish fertility is similar to the Bulgarian majority.[33] The average number of (live births) children in 2021 was 1.47 for all women (aged 12 or more), ranging from 0.04 children for women between the ages of 12-19 to 1.92 children per women between the ages of 70-79. The distribution by ethnicity shows that only among women who identify themselves as belonging to the Roma ethnic group, the average number of children is sufficient for simple reproduction - 2.25 children, mainly because of the significantly younger age structure and low educational level of this group, followed by the Turkish ethnic group with 1.79 children and 1.41 children for women who self-identified as belonging to the Bulgarian ethnic.[34] The distribution of the average number of live births by religion changes from 1.83 children for Muslim women and 1.82 children for Protestant women, followed by 'other Christian' (1.63), Eastern Orthodox (1.43), Catholic (1.36), Jewish (1.27) and Armenian Apostolic (1.26). Women without religion had an average number of 1.40 children.

Births and deaths, Bulgaria 1900-2015
Births and deaths, Bulgaria 1900-2015


Fertility rate (1980–2010)
Total fertility rate and crude birth rate by province in 2010 and from 2016 to 2023 (NSI)[35][36]
Province TFR (2010) TFR (2016) TFR (2017) TFR (2018) TFR (2019) TFR (2020) TFR (2021) TFR (2022) TFR (2023)
Northwest Region 1.53 1.72 Increase 1.72 Steady 1.75 Decrease 1.77 Increase 1.75 Decrease 1.73 Decrease 1.92 Increase 1.94 Increase
Vidin 1.50 1.45 Decrease 1.58 Increase 1.68 Increase 1.65 Decrease 1.45 Decrease 1.64 Increase 1.83 Increase 1.92 Increase
Vratsa 1.46 1.77 Increase 1.68 Decrease 1.81 Increase 1.83 Increase 1.85 Increase 1.76 Decrease 1.84 Increase 1.92 Increase
Lovech 1.58 1.66 Increase 1.79 Increase 1.89 Increase 1.84 Decrease 1.91 Increase 1.88 Decrease 2.11 Increase 2.06 Decrease
Montana 1.52 1.74 Increase 1.65 Decrease 1.67 Increase 1.62 Decrease 1.63 Increase 1.73 Increase 1.87 Increase 1.91 Increase
Pleven 1.56 1.80 Increase 1.79 Decrease 1.71 Decrease 1.81 Increase 1.76 Decrease 1.66 Decrease 1.93 Increase 1.92 Decrease
North Central Region 1.32 1.45 Increase 1.45 Steady 1.45 Steady 1.43 Decrease 1.37 Decrease 1.43 Increase 1.73 Increase 1.79 Increase
Veliko Tarnovo 1.19 1.40 Increase 1.43 Increase 1.34 Decrease 1.27 Decrease 1.25 Decrease 1.35 Increase 1.69 Increase 1.74 Increase
Gabrovo 1.43 1.41 Decrease 1.49 Increase 1.58 Increase 1.69 Increase 1.46 Decrease 1.43 Decrease 1.86 Increase 1.79 Decrease
Razgrad 1.37 1.49 Increase 1.48 Decrease 1.65 Increase 1.60 Decrease 1.50 Decrease 1.53 Increase 1.70 Increase 1.77 Increase
Ruse 1.34 1.40 Increase 1.37 Decrease 1.41 Increase 1.30 Decrease 1.34 Increase 1.40 Increase 1.60 Increase 1.71 Increase
Silistra 1.49 1.77 Increase 1.71 Decrease 1.55 Decrease 1.76 Increase 1.58 Decrease 1.60 Increase 2.01 Increase 2.08 Increase
Northeast Region 1.53 1.50 Decrease 1.48 Decrease 1.49 Increase 1.52 Increase 1.45 Decrease 1.46 Increase 1.75 Increase 1.76 Steady
Varna 1.57 1.45 Decrease 1.44 Decrease 1.44 Steady 1.47 Increase 1.49 Increase 1.49 Steady 1.68 Increase 1.64 Decrease
Dobrich 1.44 1.53 Increase 1.51 Decrease 1.44 Decrease 1.56 Increase 1.44 Decrease 1.37 Decrease 1.78 Increase 1.94 Increase
Targovishte 1.67 1.59 Decrease 1.57 Decrease 1.63 Increase 1.61 Decrease 1.41 Decrease 1.46 Increase 1.91 Increase 1.93 Increase
Shumen 1.42 1.54 Increase 1.45 Decrease 1.53 Increase 1.51 Decrease 1.35 Decrease 1.39 Increase 1.92 Increase 1.87 Decrease
Southeast Region 1.67 1.82 Increase 1.88 Increase 1.84 Decrease 1.87 Increase 1.82 Decrease 1.82 Steady 2.01 Increase 2.14 Increase
Burgas 1.54 1.63 Increase 1.65 Increase 1.61 Decrease 1.69 Increase 1.59 Decrease 1.57 Decrease 1.76 Increase 1.88 Increase
Sliven 1.95 2.24 Increase 2.34 Increase 2.27 Decrease 2.35 Increase 2.24 Decrease 2.29 Increase 2.57 Increase 2.60 Increase
Stara Zagora 1.64 1.73 Increase 1.80 Increase 1.76 Decrease 1.72 Decrease 1.73 Increase 1.73 Steady 1.84 Increase 2.05 Increase
Yambol 1.70 1.98 Increase 2,00 Increase 2.13 Increase 2.06 Decrease 2.08 Increase 2.07 Decrease 2.35 Increase 2.43 Increase
Southwest Region 1.42 1.36 Decrease 1.38 Increase 1.38 Steady 1.42 Increase 1.44 Increase 1.47 Increase 1.59 Increase 1.62 Increase
Blagoevgrad 1.46 1.46 Steady 1.45 Decrease 1.50 Increase 1.62 Increase 1.61 Decrease 1.62 Increase 1.63 Increase 1.77 Increase
Kyustendil 1.33 1.63 Increase 1.75 Increase 1.76 Increase 1.95 Increase 1.77 Decrease 1.76 Decrease 1.82 Increase 1.81 Decrease
Pernik 1.35 1.62 Increase 1.66 Increase 1.73 Increase 1.68 Decrease 1.54 Decrease 1.67 Increase 1.53 Decrease 1.47 Decrease
Sofia 1.45 1.74 Increase 1.73 Decrease 1.80 Increase 1.91 Increase 1.90 Decrease 1.92 Increase 1.90 Decrease 1.98 Increase
Sofia (city) 1.39 1.27 Decrease 1.29 Increase 1.26 Decrease 1.28 Increase 1.33 Increase 1.36 Increase 1.51 Increase 1.53 Increase
South Central Region 1.50 1.61 Increase 1.65 Increase 1.65 Steady 1.66 Increase 1.59 Decrease 1.59 Steady 1.82 Increase 1.88 Increase
Kardzhali 1.49 1.64 Increase 1.66 Increase 1.70 Increase 1.74 Increase 1.49 Decrease 1.31 Decrease 1.78 Increase 1.89 Increase
Pazardzhik 1.58 1.72 Increase 1.75 Increase 1.85 Increase 1.81 Decrease 1.70 Decrease 1.57 Decrease 2.02 Increase 2.22 Increase
Plovdiv 1.49 1.56 Increase 1.60 Increase 1.61 Increase 1.60 Decrease 1.58 Decrease 1.63 Increase 1.82 Increase 1.84 Increase
Smolyan 1.33 1.45 Increase 1.47 Increase 1.40 Decrease 1.49 Increase 1.49 Steady 1.48 Decrease 1.33 Decrease 1.45 Increase
Haskovo 1.53 1.70 Increase 1.75 Increase 1.62 Decrease 1.71 Increase 1.59 Decrease 1.63 Increase 1.82 Increase 1.83 Increase
Bulgaria 1.49 1.54 Increase 1.56 Increase 1.56 Steady 1.58 Increase 1.56 Decrease Increase 1.58 Increase 1.78 Increase 1.81

Regional differences

As of 2022, the municipality of Tvarditsa has the highest crude birth rate in the country, at 18.4‰, followed by the municipalities of Yablanitsa (17.9‰) and Nikolaevo Municipality (17.2‰). All these municipalities have relatively large Romani populations.

Top 20 municipalities with the highest birth rate (2021)[37][38]
Municipality Birth rate (‰)
Tvarditsa Municipality, Sliven Province 18.4
Yablanitsa Municipality, Lovech Province 17.9
Nikolaevo Municipality, Stara Zagora Province 17.2
Kaynardzha Municipality, Silistra Province 16.1
Ugarchin Municipality, Lovech Province 15.1
Kotel Municipality, Sliven Province 14.6
Nikola Kozlevo Municipality, Shumen Province 14.6
Lukovit Municipality, Lovech Province 13.6
Dolna Banya Municipality, Sofia Province 13.0
Bratya Daskalovi Municipality, Stara Zagora Province 12.5
Straldzha Municipality, Yambol Province 12.5
Gurkovo Municipality, Stara Zagora Province 12.4
Sadovo Municipality, Plovdiv Province 12.4
Nova Zagora Municipality, Sliven Province 12.3
Strazhitsa Municipality, Veliko Tarnovo Province 12.2
Suhindol Municipality, Veliko Tarnovo Province 12.2
Ruzhintsi Municipality, Vidin Province 12.1
Rakovski Municipality, Plovdiv Province 12.1
Devnya Municipality, Varna Province 12.0
Dimovo Municipality, Vidin Province 12.0
Top 20 municipalities with the lowest birth rate (2017)[39]
Nedelino Municipality, Smolyan Province 5.7
Hisarya Municipality, Plovdiv Province 5.6
Kocherinovo Municipality, Kyustendil Province 5.6
Devin Municipality, Smolyan Province 5.5
Gramada Municipality, Vidin Province 5.5
Svoge Municipality, Sofia Province 5.5
Godech Municipality, Sofia Province 5.4
Apriltsi Municipality, Lovech Province 5.3
Novo Selo Municipality, Vidin Province 5.0
Chepelare Municipality, Smolyan Province 4.9
Zemen Municipality, Pernik Province 4.9
Hitrino Municipality, Shumen Province 4.8
Chiprovtsi Municipality, Montana Province 4.7
Borovo Municipality, Ruse Province 4.5
Belene Municipality, Pleven Province 4.4
Tryavna Municipality, Gabrovo Province 4.2
Boynitsa Municipality, Vidin Province 4.0
Nevestino Municipality, Kyustendil Province 3.8
Banite Municipality, Smolyan Province 3.2
Georgi Damyanovo Municipality, Montana Province 3.1

On the other hand, the municipalities of Georgi Damyanovo, Banite and Nevestino have incredibly low birth rates. These municipalities are almost exclusively inhabited by ethnic Bulgarians.

Teenage pregnancy

Bulgaria has one of the highest share of teenage pregnancy in Europe. Nevertheless, this number declined rapidly between 1995 and 2010, until it stabilized at around 10%.

Number of teenage mothers in Bulgaria in the period 1990-2022[40]
Year 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015 2017 2020 2021 2022
All live births in Bulgaria 105,180 71,967 73,679 69,886 75,513 65,950 63,955 59,086 58,678 56,596
Mothers aged under twenty 22,518 16,278 12,787 10,625 8,411 6,274 6,038 5,970 5,861 5,769
Share of teenage mothers Increase 21.4% Increase22.6% Decrease 17.4% Decrease 15.2% Decrease 11.1% Decrease 9.5% Decrease 9.4% Increase 10.1% Decrease 10.0% Increase 10.2%

The ten municipalities with the largest absolute number of teenage mothers for 2022 are: Sliven (371), Sofia (345), Plovdiv (196), Pazardzhik (130), Yambol (123), Nova Zagora (121), Burgas (108), Pleven (110), Tvarditsa (98), Stara Zagora, Varna (83) and Haskovo (81).[40]

Top ten municipalities with the highest share of mothers aged under twenty (2022)[40]
Municipality All live births Births to mothers aged under twenty % of all live births
Gurkovo Municipality 54 25 46.3%
Simeonovgrad Municipality 78 33 43.3%
Ugarchin Municipality 75 32 42.7%
Yablanitsa Municipality 99 40 40.4%
Tvarditsa Municipality 243 98 40.4%
Kaynardzha Municipality 63 25 39.7%
Straldzha Municipality 127 47 37.0%
Maglizh Municipality 101 36 35.6%
Sredets Municipality 118 41 34.7%
Nova Zagora Municipality 371 121 32.6%

Life expectancy at birth

Life expectancy in Bulgaria since 1900
Life expectancy in Bulgaria since 1960 by gender
Total population: Increase 74.83 years
Male: Increase 71.37 years
Female: Increase 78.39 years (2016-2018 est.)[41]


Average life expectancy at age 0 of the total population.[42]

Period Life expectancy in
Years
1950–1955 62.33
1955–1960 Increase 66.78
1960–1965 Increase 70.28
1965–1970 Increase 70.91
1970–1975 Increase 71.07
1975–1980 Increase 71.10
1980–1985 Increase 71.24
1985–1990 Increase 71.39
1990–1995 Decrease 71.11
1995–2000 Decrease 70.97
2000–2005 Increase 72.19
2005–2010 Increase 73.13
2010–2015 Increase 74.25
2016–2018 Increase 74.83


Kardzhali Province and Sofia City have the highest life expectancy with 76.6 years for both sexes. The lowest life expectancy is recorded in the Northwestern provinces like Montana (72.7 years), Vratsa (72.8 years) and Vidin (72.9 years).[43]

Infant mortality rate

Total: Positive decrease 5.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2018)[41]
Male: Positive decrease 6.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2018)
Female: Positive decrease 5.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2018)

Projections

The following forecast for the future population is an official estimate of the National Statistical Institute of Bulgaria.[44]

Year Population
2025 6,263,384
2030 6,007,657
2035 5,801,261
2040 5,637,361
2045 5,505,143
2050 5,391,291
2055 5,287,150
2060 5,189,165
2065 5,099,550
2070 5,025,580
2075 4,971,948
2080 4,937,302

Demographic statistics

Demographic statistics according to the World Population Review.[45]

Demographic statistics according to the CIA World Factbook, unless otherwise indicated.[46]

Population
6,519,789 (Sept 2021 cens)
6,919,180 (July 2021 est.)
7,057,504 (July 2018 est.)
Ethnic groups
Bulgarian 76.9%, Turkish/Balkan Gagauz 8%, Romani 4.4%, other 0.7% (including Russian, Armenian, and Vlach), other (unknown) 10% (2011 est.)
note: Romani populations are usually underestimated in official statistics and may represent 9–11% of Bulgaria's population
Languages
Bulgarian (official) 76.8%, Balkan Gagauz 8.2%, Romani 3.8%, other 0.7%, unspecified 10.5% (2011 est.)
Religions
Eastern Orthodox 59.4%, Muslim 7.8%, other (including Catholic, Protestant, Armenian Apostolic Orthodox, and Jewish) 1.7%, none 3.7%, unspecified 27.4% (2011 est.)
Age structure
Population pyramid of Bulgaria by age and sex in 1950
0-14 years: 14.52% (male 520,190 /female 491,506)
15-24 years: 9,4% (male 340,306 /female 312,241
25-54 years:42.87% (male 1,538,593 /female 1,448,080)
55-64: 13.15% (male 433,943 /female 482,784)
65 years and over: 20.06% (male 562,513 /female 835,065) (2020 est.)
0-14 years: 14.6% (male 530,219 /female 500,398)
15-24 years: 9.43% (male 346,588 /female 318,645)
25-54 years: 43.12% (male 1,565,770 /female 1,477,719)
55-64 years: 13.3% (male 442,083 /female 496,888)
65 years and over: 19.54% (male 557,237 /female 821,957) (2018 est.)
Median age
total: 43.7 years. Country comparison to the world: 20
male: 41.9 years
female: 45.6 years (2020 est.)
total: 43 years. Country comparison to the world: 22nd
male: 41.2 years
female: 44.9 years (2018 est.)
Birth rate
8.15 births/1,000 population (2021 est.) Country comparison to the world: 218th
8.5 births/1,000 population (2018 est.) Country comparison to the world: 215th
Population pyramid of Bulgaria in 2017
Death rate
14.52 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.) Country comparison to the world: 3rd
14.5 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.) Country comparison to the world: 4th
Total fertility rate
1.49 children born/woman (2021 est.) Country comparison to the world:204th
1.47 children born/woman (2018 est.) Country comparison to the world: 201st
Net migration rate
-0.29 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.) Country compy to the world:115
Population growth rate
-0.67% (2021 est.) Country comparison to the world: 229th
Mother's mean age at first birth
27.1 years (2017 est.)
Dependency ratios
total dependency ratio: 56.6 (2020 est.)
youth dependency ratio: 23 (2020 est.)
elderly dependency ratio: 33.6 (2020 est.)
potential support ratio: 3 (2020 est.)
Urbanization
urban population: 75.7% of total population (2020)

.rate of urbanization: -0.22% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

potential support ratio: 3.3 (2015 est.)
Bias among ethnic groups in Bulgaria
Life expectancy at birth
total population: 75.3 years. Country comparison to the world: 122th
male: 72.08 years
female: 78.73 years (2021 est.)
Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write (2015 est.)

total population: 98.4%
male: 98.7%
female: 98.1% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)
total: 14 years
male: 14 years
female: 14 years (2016)
Unemployment, youth ages 15–24
total: 12.7%. Country comparison to the world: 108th
male: 13.2%
female: 13.9% (2018 est.)

Sex ratio

Of the total 7,364,570 as of 2011, 3,586,571 are males and 3,777,999 are females, or there are 1,053 women for every 1,000 men.

Demographic policies

The progressive decrease of the Bulgarian population is hindering economic growth and welfare improvement, and the management measures taken to mitigate the negative consequences do not address the essence of the problem. The Government Program for the period 2017 - 2021 is the first one that aims at overturning the trend. The program also identifies the priority means for achieving this goal: measures to increase the birth rate, reduce youth emigration, and build up regulatory and institutional capacity to implement a modern immigration policy tailored to the needs of the Bulgarian business.[47][48]

Ethnic groups

Population of Bulgaria according to ethnic group 1900–1956
Ethnic group census 1900 census 1905 census 1910 census 1920 census 1926 census 1934 census 1946 census 1956
Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % Number %
Bulgarians[49] 2,888,219 77.1 3,203,810 79.4 3,518,756 81.1 4,036,056 83.3 4,557,706 83.2 5,204,217 85.6 5,903,580 84.0 6,506,541 85.5
Turks[49] 531,240 14.2 488,010 12.1 465,641 10.7 520,339 10.7 577,552 10.5 591,193 9.7 675,500 9.6 656,025 8.6
Roma[49] 89,549 2.4 99,004 2.5 122,296 2.8 98,451 2.0 134,844 2.5 149,385 2.5 170,011 2.4 197,8651 2.6
Romanians 71,063 1.9 75,773 1.9 79,429 1.8 57,312 1.2 69,080 1.2 16,504 0.3 2,459 0.0 3,749 0.0
Greeks 66,635 1.8 63,487 1.6 43,275 1.0 42,074 0.9 10,564 0.2 9,601 0.2 3,623 0.0 7,437 0.1
Jews 33,661 0.9 37,663 0.9 40,133 0.9 43,209 0.9 46,558 0.8 48,565 0.8 44,209 0.6 6,027 0.1
Tatars 18,884 0.5 17,942 0.4 18,228 0.4 4,905 0.1 6,191 0.1 8,133 0.1 5,993 0.1
Armenians 14,581 0.4 14,178 0.4 12,932 0.3 11,509 0.2 27,332 0.5 25,963 0.4 21,637 0.3 21,954 0.3
Gagauzes 10,175 0.3 9,329 0.2 3,669 0.1 4,362 0.1
Sarakatsani3 6,128 0.2 7,251 0.2 3,075 0.1 2,866 0.0 2,085 0.0
Russians 1,685 0.0 3,275 0.2 2,505 0.2 9,080 0.2 19,706 0.4 11,928 0.2 13,200 0.2 10,551 0.1
Macedonians[50] - - - - - - 169,5442 2.4 187,7892 2.5
Others 15,602 0.2 13,199 0.2
Undeclared 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 -
Total 3,744,283 4,035,575 4,337,513 4,846,971 5,528,741 6,077,939 7,029,349 7,613,709
1 According to x files of the state, the number of the Romani was reduced by 25,000 in 1956.[51]

2 In the 1946 and the 1956 census, the population of Pirin Macedonia was forced to list as ethnic Macedonians by the Communist government in preparation of a planned federation between the People's Republic of Bulgaria and Socialist Yugoslavia, with "United Macedonia" as the connecting piece. The deal fell through, and the policy was eventually reversed in 1958.[52][53]

3 Note that the distinction between Sarakatsani and Greeks, and between Vlachs and both Aromanians and Romanians, is fluid. Sarakatsani were counted as Greeks in the 1900, 1920, 1926, 1934, and 1965 censuses.
Distribution of Turks according to the 2001 census
Distribution of the ethnic groups by municipalities according to the 2011 census within those who answered the question (6,680,000)
Ethnic structure of the entire population (7,364,570) by most detailed cadastral division according to the 2011 census
Population of Bulgaria according to ethnic group 1965-2001
Ethnic group census 1965 census 1975 census 19851 census 1992[54] census 2001[55]
Number % Number % Number % Number % Number %
Bulgarians[49] 7,231,243 87.9 7,930,024 90.9 7,271,185 85.7 6,655,210 83.9
Turks[49] 780,928 9.5 730,728 8.4 800,052 9.4 746,664 9.4
Roma[49] 148,8742 1.8 18,3232 0.2 313,396 3.7 370,908 4.7
Armenians 20,282 0.2 14,526 0.2 13,677 0.2 10,832 0.1
Russians 10,815 0.1 17,139 0.2 15,595 0.2
"Vlachs"(Aromanians and Romanians) 5,159 0.1 10,566 0.1
Sarakatsani3 5,144 0.1 4,107 0.1
Ukrainians 1,864 0.0 2,489 0.0
Macedonians 9,632 0.1 10,803 0.1 5,071 0.1
Greeks 8,241 0.1 4,930 0.1 3,408 0.0
Jews 5,108 0.1 3,076 3,461 0.0 1,363 0.0
Romanians 2,491 0.0 1,088 0.0
Tatars 6,430 0.1 5,963 0.1 4,515 0.1 1,803 0.0
Gagauzes 1,478 0.0 540 0.0
Others 25,131 0.3 23,542 0.3 12,342 0.2
Undeclared 0 0 8,481 0.1 62,108 0.8
Unshown 0 0 0 24,807 0.3
Total 8,227,966 8,727,771 8,948,649 8,487,317 7,932,984
1No data collected about ethnic group in 1985 census.

2 There are strong indications that the number of ethnic Romani in the 1965 and 1975 census was manipulated.

3 Note that the distinction between Sarakatsani and Greeks, and between Vlachs and both Aromanians and Romanians, is fluid. Sarakatsani were counted as Greeks in the 1900, 1920, 1926, 1934, and 1965 censuses.
Population of Bulgaria according to ethnic group 2011-2021
Ethnic group census 2011[49] census 2021[56][57]
Number % (%)1 Number % (%)1
Bulgarians[49] 5,664,624 76.92 (85.47) 5,118,494 78.51 (85.70)
Turks[49] 588,318 7.99 (8.88) 508,378 7.80 (8.51)
Roma[49] 325,343 4.42 (4.91) 266,720 4.09 (4.47)
Russians 9,978 0.14 (0.15) 14,218 0.22 (0.24)
Armenians 6,552 0.09 (0.10) 5,306 0.08 (0.09)
"Vlachs" 3,684 0.05 (0.06) 1,643 0.03 (0.03)
Sarakatsani 2,556 0.03 (0.04) 2,071 0.03 (0.03)
Ukrainians 1,789 0.02 (0.03) 3,239 0.05 (0.05)
Macedonians 1,654 0.02 (0.02) 1,143 0.02 (0.02)
Greeks 1,379 0.02 (0.02) 1,625 0.02 (0.02)
Jews 1,162 0.02 (0.02) 1,153 0.02 (0.02)
Romanians 891 0.01 (0.01) 683 0.01 (0.01)
Tatars 1,129 0.2 (0.02)
Gagauzes 40 0.0 (0.00)
Others 19,659 0.27 (0.30) 46,7962 0.62 (0.78)
Undeclared 736,981 10.00 - 79,513 1.22 -
No return/Data borrowed
from administrative sources
- - - 467,678 7.1 -
Total 7,364,570 6,519,789
1 Percentages in parentheses are calculated only based on the number of people who answered the ethnicity question (6,680,980 for 2011 and 6,052,111 for 2021) and do not cover people whose data has been collected from administrative databases.
2Includes, among other things, 2,894 Englishmen, 865 Italians, 824 Poles, etc. etc.


The following table shows the ethnic composition of all Provinces of Bulgaria according to the 2021 census:

Ethnic Affiliation in Bulgaria by Province in 2021[56][58]
Province Bulgarian Turkish Romani Other Undeclared Unknown1, 2 Total
Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % Number %
Blagoevgrad Province 236,951 81.9 14,028 4.8 12,138 4.2 11,197 3.8 3,768 1.3 13,965 4.8 292,227 100.0
Burgas Province 280,388 73.7 47,286 12.4 14,893 3.9 5,992 1.6 5,805 1.5 25,922 6.8 380,286 100.0
Dobrich Province 109,041 72.6 18,835 12.5 10,118 6.8 2,035 1.4 1,304 1.3 8,813 5.9 150,146 100.0
Gabrovo Province 89,394 90.9 4,723 4.8 792 0.8 735 0.7 1,068 1.1 1,675 1.9 98,387 100.0
Haskovo Province 154,088 72.8 25,555 12.1 12,572 5.9 1,764 0.8 2,254 1.1 15,332 7.2 211,565 100.0
Kardzhali Province 37,383 26.5 83,280 59.0 1,354 1.0 2,130 1.5 4,909 3.5 12,121 8.6 141,177 100.0
Kyustendil Province 101,735 91.0 56 0.0 6,555 5.9 329 0.3 509 0.5 2,552 2.3 111,736 100.0
Lovech Province 103,484 88.9 2,789 2.4 4,999 4.3 407 0.3 2,202 1.9 2,513 2.2 116,394 100.0
Montana Province 99,539 83.0 136 0.1 13,130 10.9 381 0.3 984 0.8 5,780 4.8 119,950 100.0
Pazardzhik Province 184,677 80.4 6,782 3.0 14,320 6.2 4,686 2.0 2,189 1.0 17,160 7.5 229,814 100.0
Pernik Province 107,459 94.1 128 0.1 3,554 3.1 388 0.3 718 0.6 1,925 1.7 114,162 100.0
Pleven Province 200,197 88.5 5,367 2.4 6,999 3.1 937 0.4 1,829 0.8 10,791 4.8 226,120 100.0
Plovdiv Province 513,249 80.9 39,585 6.2 26,296 4.1 5,004 0.8 8,134 1.3 42,229 6.7 634,497 100.0
Razgrad Province 38,873 37.7 49,318 47.8 5,806 5.6 1,957 1.9 1,915 1.9 5,363 5.2 103,223 100.0
Ruse Province 148,845 76.9 23,958 12.4 7,041 3.6 2,060 1.1 2,315 1.2 9,264 4.8 193,483 100.0
Shumen Province 81,907 54.1 44,263 29.2 11,268 7.4 2,118 1.4 1,872 1.2 10,037 6.6 151,465 100.0
Silistra Province 51,579 52.8 34,392 35.7 5,244 5.4 694 0.7 793 0.8 5,068 5.2 97,770 100.0
Sliven Province 115,607 66.9 13,217 7.7 23,918 13.9 1,861 1.1 1,691 1.0 16,396 9.5 172,690 100.0
Smolyan Province 86,818 90.2 3,049 3.2 483 0.5 3,589 3.7 1,609 1.7 736 0.73 96,284 100.0
Sofia City 1,058,553 83.1 5,881 0.5 13,960 1.1 13,766 1.1 16,086 1.2 166,044 13.0 1,274,290 100.0
Sofia Province 204,662 88.2 342 0.1 11,380 4.9 742 0.3 1,459 0.6 13,404 5.8 231,989 100.0
Stara Zagora Province 239,770 80.9 12,170 4.1 18,158 6.1 2,465 0.8 2,929 1.0 21,015 7.1 296,507 100.0
Targovishte Province 46,455 47.3 34,279 34.9 5,980 6.1 2,828 2.9 2,091 2.1 6,061 6.2 98,144 100.0
Varna Province 352,886 81.6 25,678 5.9 9,634 2.2 7,664 1.8 6,187 1.4 30,149 7.0 432,198 100.0
Veliko Tarnovo Province 178,491 86.1 11,348 5.5 3,655 1.8 1,652 0.8 2,314 1.1 9,911 4.8 207,371 100.0
Vidin Province 68,143 90.4 65 0.0 5,055 6.7 345 0.5 306 0.4 1,494 2.0 75,408 100.0
Vratsa Province 137,587 90.0 424 0.3 10,132 6.6 444 0.3 1,629 1.1 2,587 1.7 152,813 100.0
Yambol Province 90,733 82.7 994 0.9 7,116 6.5 836 0.8 643 0.6 9,371 8.5 109,693 100.0
Republic of Bulgaria 5,118,494 78.5 508,378 7.8 266,720 4.1 79,006 1.2 79,513 1.2 467,678 7.2 6,519,789 100.0
1 The category pertains to citizens whose data has been collected from administrative databases.
2 The online stage of the 2021 Census was subjected to repeated DDoS attacks.[59] As a result, much fewer citizens than expected, especially in major urban areas, were able to take the online census, and the number of hired census assessors proved inadequate to ensure full census coverage in most major cities. Thus, the City of Sofia had a record-high number of no returns, 166,044, or 35.5% of the country total, despite being home to only 19.5% of the population.
3 The province with most missing returns for 2011 (21.7%), Smolyan, had record-high participation in 2021, with only 736 or 0.7% missing returns.[58]

Languages

Main article: Languages of Bulgaria

Distribution of the mother tongues by municipalities according to the 2011 census
Distribution of languages of Bulgaria (2001) [60]
Bulgarian
84.5%
Turkish
9.6%
Roma (Gypsy)
4.1%
others
0.9%
undeclared
0.9%
Population of Bulgaria according to mother tongue 1880–1892
Mother
tongue
census 1880[61][62] census 1887[63] census 1892[64]
Number % Number % Number %
Bulgarian 1,345,507 67.0 2,326,250 73.7 2,505,326 75.7
Turkish/Gagauz 527,284 26.3 607,331 19.3 569,728 17.2
"Vlach" 49,070 2.4
Romanian 62,628 1.9
Roma 37,600 1.9 50,291 1.6 52,132 1.6
Ladino 14,020 0.7 27,531 0.8
Tatar 12,376 0.6 16,290 0.5
Greek 11,152 0.6 58,326 1.8 58,518 1.8
Armenian 3,837 6,445 0.2
Serbo-Croatian 1,894
Serbian 818
German/Yiddish 1,280
German 3,620
Russian 1,123 928
Albanian 530
Italian 515 803
Hungarian 220
Czech 174
French 164 356
Arabic 97
Polish 92
English 64
Circassian 63
Persian 58
Others 402 4,425
Unknown 1,165
Total 2,007,919 3 154 375 3,310,713
Territory (km2) 63,752 95,223 95,223

The 2001 census defines an ethnic group as a "community of people, related to each other by origin and language, and close to each other by mode of life and culture"; and one's mother tongue as "the language a person speaks best and usually uses for communication in the family (household)".[65] According to the 2011 census, among the Bulgarians 99.4% indicate Bulgarian as a mother tongue, 0.3% - Turkish/Balkan gagauz, 0.1% - Roma and 0.1% others; among Turks 96.6% have pointed the Turkish/Balkan Gagauz as a mother tongue and 3.2% - Bulgarian; among the Roma 85% indicate Roma language as a mother tongue, 7.5% - Bulgarian, 6.7% - Turkish/Balkan gagauz and 0.6% - Romanian.

Religion

Main article: Religion in Bulgaria

Bulgaria's traditional religion according to the constitution is the Orthodox Christianity, while Bulgaria is a secular state too. Since the last two censuses (2001 and 2011) provide widely divergent results, they are both shown in the table below. It is noteworthy that over a fifth of the population chose not to respond to this question in the 2011 census.

Religious structure of Bulgaria according to the 2011 census.
Muslim areas in Bulgaria according to the 2001 census
2001[66] 2011[5][67]
Orthodox Christian 82.6% 59.4%
Muslim 12.2% 7.8% (7.4% Sunni; 0.4% Shia)
Catholic 0.6% 0.7%
Protestant 0.5% 0.9%
Other 0.2% 0.15%
None 3.9% 9.3%
No response - 21.8%

The results of the Bulgarian 2011 Census, in which the indication of answer regarding the question for confession was optional, are as follows:[68]

Group Population % of declared % of total
Orthodoxy 4,374,135 76.0% 59.4%
Undeclared 1,606,269 - 21.8%
Irreligion 682,162 11.8% 9.3%
Islam 577,139 10.0% 7.8%
Protestantism 64,476 1.1% 0.9%
Roman Catholicism 48,945 0.8% 0.7%
Oriental Orthodoxy 1,715 0.0% 0.0%
Jews 706 0.0% 0.0%
Others 9,023 0.2% 0.1%
Figure of percentage - 5,758,301 7,364,570
Municipalities where the prevalence is Bulgarian Muslim according to the 2001 census

The results of the Bulgarian 2001 Census by ethnic groups, the latest census in which the indication of identification (whether by confession or as irreligious) in the question for confession was obligatory, are as follows:[69][70]

Ethnic groups
by confession
Total Bulgarians Turks Roma Others
Number % Number % Number % Number % Number %
Orthodoxy 6,552,751 82.6 6,315,938 94.9 5,425 0.7 180,326 48.6 51,062
Islam 966,978 12.2 131,531 2.0 713,024 95.5 103,436 27.9 18,987
Irreligion 308,116 3.9 151,008 2.3 23,146 3.1 59,669 16.1
Roman Catholicism 43,811 0.6 37,811 0.6 2,561 0.3
Protestantism 42,308 0.5 14,591 0.2 2,066 0.3 24,651 6.6 1,000
Others 14,937 0.2 4,331 0.1 442 0.1
Total population 7,928,901 100.0 6,655,210 100.0 746,664 100.0 370,908 100.0 100.0
Population of Bulgaria according to religion 1900 - 2021
Religion census 1900 census 1910 census 1920 census 1926 census 1934 census 1992 census 2001 census 2011 census 2021
Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % Number %
Orthodoxy 3,019,999 80.6 3,643,918 84.0 4,062,097 83.8 4,569,074 83.4 5,128,890 84.4 7,274,592 85.7 6,552,751 82.6 4,374,135 59.4 4,091,780 62.8
Islam 643,300 17.2 602,078 13.8 690,734 14.2 789,296 14.4 821,298 13.5 1,110,295 13.0 966,978 12.2 577,139 7.8 638,708 9.8
Protestantism 4,524 0.1 6,335 0.1 5,617 0.1 6,735 0.1 8,371 0.1 21,878 0.2 42,308 0.5 64,476 1.1 69,852 1.1
Roman Catholicism 28,569 0.8 32,150 0.7 34,072 0.7 40,347 0.7 45,704 0.7 53,074 0.6 43,811 0.5 48,945 0.8 38,709 0.6
Jews 33,663 0.9 40,067 0.9 43,232 0.9 46,431 0.8 48,398 0.8 2,580 0.0 706 0.0 1,736 0.0
Armenian Apostolic Church 13,809 0.4 12,259 0.3 10,848 0.2 25,402 0.5 23,476 0.4 9,672 0.1 1,715 0.0 5,002 0.1
Others 326 0.0 14,937 0.2 9,023 0.2 6,451 0.1
Irreligion 272,264 3.7 305,102 4.7
Undeclared 93 0.0 308,116 3.9 408,989 5.5 731,841 11.2
Borrowed from adm. sources 308,116 3.9 1,606,269 21.8 616,681 9.5
Total 3,744,283 4,337,513 4,846,971 5,478,741 6,077,939 8,487,317 7,928,901 7,364,570 6,519,789

Migration

Main article: Immigration to Bulgaria

Historical migration

The first censuses of the Principality of Bulgaria and the autonomous province of Eastern Rumelia in 1880 recorded 31,786 and 17,970 Bulgarian refugees from Macedonia and Ottoman Thrace, respectively, who accounted for 1.38% of the population of the Principality an 2.20% of the population of the autonomous province, respectively.[71][72][73] The census of the Principality also counted a total of 37,635 people, or 1.88% of the population, born in a country other than the Ottoman Empire, mostly Bulgarians from Romania, Northern Dobruja and Bessarabia.[71] By 1887, when the first joint census of the Principality and the autonomous province was conducted following their peaceful unification in 1885, the number of the refugees from the Ottoman Empire had grown to 54,462 people, or 1.73% of the population, while the rest of the foreign-born population had fallen to 31,637 people, 9,831 of whom born in the Russian Empire, 11,843 in Romania, 2,690 in Serbia and 7,273 elsewhere.[74]

According to the 1910 census, 300,000 or almost 10% of the ethnic Bulgarians were born in another Bulgarian municipality than the one they were enumerated in. The same data shows that the foreign-born ethnic Bulgarians numbered 78,000, or 2% of them, most numerous of whom were the 61,000 Ottoman-born, 9,000 Romanian-born and by less than 2,000 Austro-Hungarian, Serbian and Russian-born.[75] By the 1926 census, there had been 253,000 refugees with granted households and land or citizenship but with many more in towns of uncertain number. 35% came from Eastern Thrace, 30% came from Greek Macedonia, another 18% from Western Thrace, 8% from Dobruja, 4% from the Western Outlands, 3% from Asia Minor, and 2% from North Macedonia. They constituted 6% of the country's population. In 1940, 70,000 Bulgarians were exchanged from Northern Dobruja. The total number of refugees in 1878-1940 is estimated at between 700,000 and 1,200,000.[76] In 1950-1951, around 150,000 Turks left Bulgaria for Turkey, and again in 1989.

Current migration

According to the 2011 census Russian citizens are the most numerous foreigners - 11 991, followed by 8 444 EU citizens (UK- 2 605, Greece - 1 253, Germany- 848, Poland - 819 and Italy - 456), citizens of Ukraine - 3 064, North Macedonia - 1 091, Moldova - 893 and Serbia - 569. 22.8% of them are from Asia, mostly from Turkey. Those with dual Bulgarian and other citizenship were 22 152, or 0.3% of the population. Of them persons with Bulgarian and Russian citizenship were 5 257 (23.7%), followed by persons with Bulgarian and Turkish citizenship - 4 282 (19.3%), Bulgarian and citizenship of the USA- 1 725 (7.8%). There are at least 17,527 Refugees of the Syrian Civil War with applications in Bulgaria. In 2001-2015 185,447 people applied for Bulgarian citizenship and 116,222 were provided with. 113,647 were granted on grounds of proven Bulgarian ancestry, including 59,968 North Macedonia citizens. 29,218 were Moldovan citizens, 5930 Ukrainians, 5374 Serbians, 5194 Russians, 3840 Israeli, 2192 Albanians, 692 Turks and others.[77] In 2016, 12,880 foreigners were naturalized, including 6196 Macedonians.[78]

Permanent foreign residents in Bulgaria by broad geographic region of origin in 2011 and 2021[79][6]
Nationality 2011 2021
Number % Number %
Bulgaria Bulgarians 7,327,847 99.50% 6,459,248 99.07%
Foreigners 36,723 0.50% 60,541 0.93%
European Union EU-27 8,444 0.11% 10,549 0.16%
Other European 18,413 0.15% 35,901 0.55%
Africa 429 0.01% 940 0.01%
Central and South America 338 0.00% 518 0.01%
North America 588 0.01% 776 0.01%
Asia 8,403 0.11% 10,466 0.16%
Oceania 62 0.00% 88 0.00%
Stateless 46 0.00% 1,303 0.02%
Total 7,364,570 6,519,789
Ten most common resident nationalities in 2011 and 2021[79][6]
Nationality 2011 2021
Number % Number %
 Russian Federation 11,911 32.84% 17,465 28.85%
 Ukraine 3,064 8.45% 6,163 10.18%
 Turkey 2,741 7.56% 3,017 4.99%
 United Kingdom 2,605 7.09% 4,484 7.41%
 Greece 1,253 3.41% 1,631 2.69%
 Armenia 1,167 3.22% 1,048 1.73%
 North Macedonia 1,091 3.01% 1,576 2.60%
 Germany 848 2.31% 1,797 2.97%
 China 749 2.04% 1,683 2.78%
 Syria 729 2.00% 2,615 4.32%
Total 36,723 60,541

Population by country of birth:[80]

2011 2013 2015 2019[81]
European Union Bulgaria 7,290,666 7,188,273 7,077,389 6,951,482
Total foreign-born 78,621 96,113 123,803 168,516
 Russia 18,725 19,533 24,416 31,679
 Turkey 3,955 6,227 9,284 11,702
 Syria 1,250 1,298 8,318 14,080
European Union Greece 4,928 7,377 7,166 8,563
 Ukraine 5,877 6,084 7,039 10,115
European Union Germany 2,083 3,638 5,533 9,334
 UK 3,042 5,066 6,738 9,992
European Union Spain 1,558 4,065 5,240 7,098
European Union Romania 6,045 5,380 4,612 4,556
European Union Italy 1,082 2,261 2,830 3,790
 North Macedonia 2,426 2,384 2,742 3,595
 USA 1,180 2,023 2,431 3,153
 Moldova 1,893 1,996 2,363 2,990
 Serbia 2,306 2,246 2,318 2,879
 Azerbaijan 2,152 1,871 1,886 2,103
European Union France 562 1,255 1,781 2,614
European Union Poland 1,196 1,443 1,648 2,043
 Armenia 1,472 1,422 1,565 1,840
 Kazakhstan 970 1,067 1,515 2,101
European Union Belgium 410 1,009 1,481 2,199
 China 860 929 1,236 1,447
European Union Czech Republic 924 1,028 1,186 1,514
European Union Austria 1,512
 Albania 1,134 1,078 1,130 1,348
European Union Netherlands 298 735 1,040 1,522
European Union Cyprus 244 679 1,008 1,372
Unknown 144 166 1,006

Foreigners by nationality:

2011 2015
Total 36,723 65,622
 Russia 11,991 17,943
 Turkey 2,741 8,157
 Syria 729 7,508
 Ukraine 3,064 3,874
 UK 2,605 3,693
Unknown 2,538
European Union Greece 1,253 2,094
Stateless 1,875
 North Macedonia 1,091 1,289
European Union Germany 848 1,266
 Armenia 1,167 1,175
 China 749 1,147
 Moldova 893 1,018
European Union Poland 819 978
 USA 876
European Union Italy 456 815
 Serbia 569 813
 Iraq 706 806
 Kazakhstan 712

Age structure

0–14 years: Decrease 13.2%
15–65 years: Increase 68.3%
65 years and over: Negative increase 18.5% (Census 2011)[5]

At the 2011 census, the largest cohort of those self-identified as Romani was the 0–9 years cohort, which accounted for 20.8% of all Romani. The same age cohort accounted for 10.2% of the Turks and 7.2% of the Bulgarians.[82] At the 2021 census, the 0–9 years cohort amongst the Romani was second largest after the 10–19 years one and represented 17.0% of all Romani.[83] The corresponding percentages for ethnic Bulgarians and ethnic Turks stood at 7.7% and 8.8%, respectively.

Ethnicity of children aged 0–9 (2011 census)[82][84]

  Bulgarians (62.0%)
  Romani (10.2%)
  Turks (9.0%)
  Other (0.5%)
  Undeclared (3.4%)
  Data borrowed from adm. databases (14.9%)

Ethnicity of children aged 0–9 (2021 census)[83]

  Bulgarians (66.4%)
  Romani (7.7%)
  Turks (7.5%)
  Other (0.7%)
  Undeclared (2.0%)
  Data borrowed from adm. databases (15.6%)
Ethnicity of children aged 0–9 per province (% from the declared)
Province Ethnicity Ethnicity Ethnicity
Bulgarian Turkish Roma
Bulgaria 72.9% 10.6% 12.0%
Blagoevgrad Province 80.9% 7.3% 7.8%
Burgas Province 68.5% 16.2% 9.7%
Dobrich Province 56.9% 17.1% 18.9%
Gabrovo Province 85.0% 8.2% 3.8%
Haskovo Province 62.7% 16.5% 16.7%
Kardzhali Province 23.8% 67.8% 2.7%
Kyustendil Province 79.4% 0.0% 16.1%
Lovech Province 78.0% 3.6% 14.8%
Montana Province 66.8% 0.1% 29.0%
Pazardzhik Province 67.3% 8.7% 16.7%
Pernik Province 90.3% 0.1% 7.5%
Pleven Province 78.5% 4.4% 13.5%
Plovdiv Province 74.1% 9.3% 11.9%
Razgrad Province 33.9% 50.0% 10.2%
Ruse Province 72.2% 15.1% 8.9%
Shumen Province 45.5% 31.5% 17.6%
Silistra Province 38.2% 43.1% 14.4%
Sliven Province 55.0% 11.6% 28.3%
Smolyan Province 87.6% 5.0% 1.9%
Sofia City 92.2% 0.5% 3.6%
Sofia Province 77.1% 0.2% 18.8%
Stara Zagora Province 68.3% 7.3% 19.9%
Targovishte Province 39.6% 38.0% 15.5%
Varna Province 79.2% 8.9% 7.0%
Veliko Tarnovo Province 79.9% 11.0% 4.4%
Vidin Province 74.3% 0.1% 20.6%
Vratsa Province 80.3% 0.4% 15.6%
Yambol Province 62.4% 5.8% 26.7%
Source (2011 census):[49]

Bulgarian children constitute the majority of all children in 23 out of 28 provinces. They constitute more than ninety percent of all children in two provinces: Sofia (city) (92%) and Pernik Province (90%).

Turkish children constitute the majority in Kardzhali Province (68% of self-declared) and Razgrad Province (50% of self-declared); they also constitute the largest group of all children in Silistra Province (43%).

Roma children constitute 12% of all children in Bulgaria and more than a quarter in three provinces: Montana (29%), Sliven (28%) and Yambol (27%).

Bulgaria is ageing rapidly, especially in some remote rural areas.

Age Structure (2011)
Under working age (0 – 17) Working age (18 – 64) Above working age (65 and over)
1 172 208 (16.0%) 4 789 967 (65.1%) 1 389 059 (18.9%)
Age Structure (2017)[85]
Under working age (0 – 17) Working age (18 – 64) Above working age (65 and over)
1 065 993 (15.1%) 4 248 503 (60.3%) 1 735 538 (24.6%)

The ageing of the population leads to an increase of the median age. The median age is 43.6 as of 2017, up from 40.4 years in 2001.[86]

Education

Main article: Education in Bulgaria

Map of Romani students in schools in Bulgaria
Chart of completed degrees by ethnic groups in Bulgaria

Over 98% of the population is literate, the males being more literate than the females.

According to the 2011 census, about 112,778 people aged nine or more are illiterate. There are considerable differences in the share of illiterate persons amongst the three main ethnic groups. Amongst the Bulgarian ethnic group the share of illiterate is 0.5%, amongst the Turkish - 4.7% and amongst the Roma ethnic group - 11.8%.[87] About 81 thousand people aged seven or more never visited school.[88]

Unemployment

Chart of unemployment and poverty rate by ethnic groups

The number of unemployed people declined from 207000 people (or around 6.2% of the population) in 2017[89] to 156 657 in November 2023. The unemployment rate stood at 4.3 per cent in November 2023 according to Eurostat.[90]

Most unemployed people are aged 15 to 24 years old.

The unemployment rate in rural areas (around 10.0%) is nearly two times higher than the unemployment rate in urban areas (approximately 5.1%).

Vidin Province has the highest unemployment rate with almost one fifth of its labour force being unemployed. The provinces of Shumen (15.9%), Silistra (12.5%) and Targovishte (12.4%) have also very high unemployment rates.

Other statistics

Home ownership

According to Eurostat, 82.3% per cent of the population live in privately owned and owner-occupied homes, ranking it as 12th highest in ownership globally.[91] It is down from a recent peak of 87.6% in 2008, and has been steadily falling since.[91]

Internet penetration

The number of Internet users has increased rapidly since 2000—from 430,000 their number grew to 1.55 million in 2004, and 3.4 million (48 per cent penetration rate) in 2010.[92] Bulgaria has the third-fastest average Broadband Internet speed in the world after South Korea and Romania with an average speed of 1,611 kbit/s.[93][94]

Mobile phone adoption

Currently there are three active mobile phone operators—Mtel, Telenor and Vivacom, Mtel is the largest one with 5.2 million users as of 2010,[95] Telenor has 3,9 million as of 2007 and Vivacom over 1 million[citation needed].

HIV

Bulgaria's HIV rate is among the lowest in the world, being 0.1% or 3,800 infected as of 2009.[citation needed]

Urbanization

See also: List of cities and towns in Bulgaria

Most Bulgarians (72.5 per cent) reside in urban areas. Approximately one-sixth of them live in Sofia, which has a population exceeding 1,200,000 people.

Urban population: Increase 5,338,261 or 72.5% of total population (Census 2011)[5]
Rural: 2,026,309 or 27.5%
Rate of urbanization: -0.3% annual rate of change (2005–10 est.)

See also

Notes

  1. ^ In fertility rates, 2.1 and above is a stable population and has been marked blue, 2 and below leads to an aging population and the result is that the population decreases.

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