Bulgaria’s population continued its decline last year, numbering 7,050,034 people at the end of December, a decline of 51,825 people or 0.7% compared to a year earlier.
Bulgaria is among five Central and Southeast European states that the UN forecasts will lose more than 40% of their populations by the end of this century due to a combination of low birth rates and mass emigration. The same study projects Bulgaria’s population will contract by 23.4% by 2050, the sharpest decline across the region.
“Basic factors influencing the changes of population number and structures are the demographic processes - fertility, mortality and migration,” commented Bulgaria’s National Statistical Office on April 11.
There were 63,955 live births in 2017, a 1.6% y/y decrease, while the number of deaths was almost twice at high at 109,791, up 2.1%. Meanwhile, 31,586 people were reported to have moved abroad, with the majority favouring Germany, Spain and the UK.
Illustrating the impact these factors are having on the country, the statistics office reported that there were 162 settlements with no population at the end of 2017.
Another disturbing trend is rising the age dependency ratio, which grew to 54.5%, meaning there are now fewer than two people of working age for each person under 15 or over 65.
This follows a fall in the working age population by almost 56,000 or 1.3% in 2017. At the same time the population is continuing to age, with 21% of the country’s population over 65 at the end of 2017, compared to an EU average of 19.4%.