Bulgaria’s population shrinks to historically low 6.5mn

Bulgaria’s population shrinks to historically low 6.5mn
The sharpest decline was recorded in northern towns like Vidin, where the population has fallen by 26.3% since 2011. / Clare Nuttall
By bne IntelliNews January 6, 2022

Bulgaria’s population has decreased to the historically low number of 6,520,314 people and is progressively ageing, preliminary census results showed on January 6.

This is the biggest contraction recorded ever between two censuses – by 844,000 people, or by 11.5% compared to 2011. The 2011 census showed that Bulgaria’s population stood at 7.36mn, while a decade earlier it was 7.92mn.

The final data should be announced by the end of 2022, the country’s statistics office said in a statement.

The natural growth of Bulgaria’s population was -448,000 people, which contributed 53% to the total decrease. The remaining 47% of the decrease was the Bulgarians who have left the country in the past ten years.

“A nation that is emptying its territory so fast, apparently [the population] is running away. … This is not funny. It is scary,” prominent PR expert Rumen Bimbalov wrote on Facebook.

The census registered 2.8mn households with the average number of people per household being 2.3. Women comprise 52.1% of the population, while the share of men is 47.9%.

The census also showed that the population is ageing with the share of people 65 and older rising by 5.4pp from 2011 and by 9.6% compared to the census carried out in 1992 to 23.9% of the total population.

Meanwhile, the number of children has decreased by 153,000 to 1.03mn, while the active population aged 18-64 has decreased by around 0.9mn to 3.9mn (60.3% of the total population) from 4.8mn (65.4% of the total population) in 2011.

The census also showed that the population of the capital Sofia was the only one that has increased in the past decade – by 14.7% to 1.48mn. The population of the towns in northern Bulgaria has decreased the most – by 26.3% in Vidin and Dobrich, 23.4% in Silistra, 22.8% in Veliko Tarnovo, 24.2% in Montana, 21.1% in Pleven, 22.4% in Targovishte and 22.9% in Razgrad and Ruse.

Only 34% of people the population decided to participate in the digital census, while the remaining had to be visited by interviewers.