Europe :: Bulgaria
  • Introduction :: Bulgaria
  • Background:
    The Bulgars, a Central Asian Turkic tribe, merged with the local Slavic inhabitants in the late 7th century to form the first Bulgarian state. In succeeding centuries, Bulgaria struggled with the Byzantine Empire to assert its place in the Balkans, but by the end of the 14th century the country was overrun by the Ottoman Turks. Northern Bulgaria attained autonomy in 1878 and all of Bulgaria became independent from the Ottoman Empire in 1908. Having fought on the losing side in both World Wars, Bulgaria fell within the Soviet sphere of influence and became a People's Republic in 1946. Communist domination ended in 1990, when Bulgaria held its first multiparty election since World War II and began the contentious process of moving toward political democracy and a market economy while combating inflation, unemployment, corruption, and crime. The country joined NATO in 2004 and the EU in 2007.
  • Geography :: Bulgaria
  • Location:
    Southeastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea, between Romania and Turkey
    Geographic coordinates:
    43 00 N, 25 00 E
    Map references:
    total: 110,879 sq km
    land: 108,489 sq km
    water: 2,390 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 106
    Area - comparative:
    almost identical in size to Virginia; slightly larger than Tennessee
    Area comparison map: Area comparison map
    Land boundaries:
    total: 1,806 km
    border countries (5): Greece 472 km, Macedonia 162 km, Romania 605 km, Serbia 344 km, Turkey 223 km
    354 km
    Maritime claims:
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    temperate; cold, damp winters; hot, dry summers
    mostly mountains with lowlands in north and southeast
    mean elevation: 472 m
    lowest point: Black Sea 0 m
    highest point: Musala 2,925 m
    Natural resources:
    bauxite, copper, lead, zinc, coal, timber, arable land
    Land use:
    agricultural land: 46.9% (2011 est.)
    arable land: 29.9% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 1.5% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 15.5% (2011 est.)
    forest: 36.7% (2011 est.)
    other: 16.4% (2011 est.)
    Irrigated land:
    1,020 sq km (2012)
    Population distribution:
    a fairly even distribution throughout most of the country, with urban areas attracting larger populations
    Natural hazards:
    earthquakes; landslides
    Environment - current issues:
    air pollution from industrial emissions; rivers polluted from raw sewage, heavy metals, detergents; deforestation; forest damage from air pollution and resulting acid rain; soil contamination from heavy metals from metallurgical plants and industrial wastes
    Environment - international agreements:
    party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    Geography - note:
    strategic location near Turkish Straits; controls key land routes from Europe to Middle East and Asia
  • People and Society :: Bulgaria
  • Population:
    6,966,899 (July 2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 106
    noun: Bulgarian(s)
    adjective: Bulgarian
    Ethnic groups:
    Bulgarian 76.9%, Turkish 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

    Bulgarian (official) 76.8%, Turkish 8.2%, Romani 3.8%, other 0.7%, unspecified 10.5% (2011 est.)
    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:
    0-14 years: 14.52% (male 520,190/female 491,506)
    15-24 years: 9.4% (male 340,306/female 314,241)
    25-54 years: 42.87% (male 1,538,593/female 1,448,080)
    55-64 years: 13.15% (male 433,943/female 482,474)
    65 years and over: 20.06% (male 562,513/female 835,053) (2020 est.)
    population pyramid: population pyramid
    Dependency ratios:
    total dependency ratio: 56.6
    youth dependency ratio: 23
    elderly dependency ratio: 33.6
    potential support ratio: 3 (2020 est.)
    Median age:
    total: 43.7 years
    male: 41.9 years
    female: 45.6 years (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 20
    Population growth rate:
    -0.65% (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 228
    Birth rate:
    8.3 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 219
    Death rate:
    14.6 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 3
    Net migration rate:
    -0.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 114
    Population distribution:
    a fairly even distribution throughout most of the country, with urban areas attracting larger populations
    urban population: 75.7% of total population (2020)
    rate of urbanization: -0.22% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    Major urban areas - population:
    1.281 million SOFIA (capital) (2020)
    Sex ratio:
    at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.08 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.9 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female
    total population: 95.1 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
    Mother's mean age at first birth:
    26.7 years (2014 est.)
    Maternal mortality rate:
    10 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 144
    Infant mortality rate:
    total: 8.1 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 9 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 7 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 149
    Life expectancy at birth:
    total population: 75 years
    male: 71.8 years
    female: 78.5 years (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 121
    Total fertility rate:
    1.49 children born/woman (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 204
    Drinking water source:
    improved: urban: 99.6% of population
    rural: 99% of population
    total: 99.4% of population
    unimproved: urban: 0.4% of population
    rural: 1% of population
    total: 0.6% of population (2015 est.)
    Current Health Expenditure:
    8.2% (2016)
    Physicians density:
    3.99 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
    Hospital bed density:
    6.8 beds/1,000 population (2013)
    Sanitation facility access:
    improved: urban: 86.8% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 83.7% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 86% of population (2015 est.)
    unimproved: urban: 13.2% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 16.3% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 14% of population (2015 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
    <.1% (2018 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
    3,500 (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 127
    HIV/AIDS - deaths:
    <100 (2018 est.)
    Obesity - adult prevalence rate:
    25% (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 53
    Education expenditures:
    4.1% of GDP (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 96
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 98.4%
    male: 98.7%
    female: 98.1% (2015)
    School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
    total: 15 years
    male: 15 years
    female: 15 years (2016)
    Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
    total: 12.9%
    male: 13.3%
    female: 12.4% (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 108
  • Government :: Bulgaria
  • Country name:
    conventional long form: Republic of Bulgaria
    conventional short form: Bulgaria
    local long form: Republika Bulgaria
    local short form: Bulgaria
    former: Kingdom of Bulgaria, People's Republic of Bulgaria
    etymology: named after the Bulgar tribes who settled the lower Balkan region in the 7th century A.D.
    Government type:
    parliamentary republic
    name: Sofia
    geographic coordinates: 42 41 N, 23 19 E
    time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
    etymology: named after the Saint Sofia Church in the city, parts of which date back to the 4th century A.D.
    Administrative divisions:
    28 provinces (oblasti, singular - oblast); Blagoevgrad, Burgas, Dobrich, Gabrovo, Haskovo, Kardzhali, Kyustendil, Lovech, Montana, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Pleven, Plovdiv, Razgrad, Ruse, Shumen, Silistra, Sliven, Smolyan, Sofia, Sofia-Grad (Sofia City), Stara Zagora, Targovishte, Varna, Veliko Tarnovo, Vidin, Vratsa, Yambol
    3 March 1878 (as an autonomous principality within the Ottoman Empire); 22 September 1908 (complete independence from the Ottoman Empire)
    National holiday:
    Liberation Day, 3 March (1878)
    history: several previous; latest drafted between late 1990 and early 1991, adopted 13 July 1991
    amendments: proposed by the National Assembly or by the president of the republic; passage requires three-fourths majority vote of National Assembly members in three ballots; signed by the National Assembly chairperson; note - under special circumstances, a "Grand National Assembly" is elected with the authority to write a new constitution and amend certain articles of the constitution, including those affecting basic civil rights and national sovereignty; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote in each of several readings; amended several times, last in 2015 (2016)
    International law organization participation:
    accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    citizenship by birth: no
    citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Bulgaria
    dual citizenship recognized: yes
    residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
    18 years of age; universal
    Executive branch:
    chief of state: President Rumen RADEV (since 22 January 2017); Vice President Iliana IOTOVA (since 22 January 2017)
    head of government: Prime Minister Boyko BORISOV (since 4 May 2017); note - BORISSOV served 2 previous terms as prime minister (27 July 2009-13 March 2013 and 7 November 2014-27 January 2017)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers nominated by the prime minister, elected by the National Assembly
    elections/appointments: president and vice president elected on the same ballot by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 6 and 13 November 2016 (next to be held in fall 2021); chairman of the Council of Ministers (prime minister) elected by the National Assembly; deputy prime ministers nominated by the prime minister, elected by the National Assembly
    election results: Rumen RADEV elected president in second round; percent of vote - Rumen RADEV (independent, supported by Bulgarian Socialist Party) 59.4%, Tsetska TSACHEVA (GERB) 36.2%, neither 4.5%; Boyko BORISOV (GERB) elected prime minister; National Assembly vote - 133 to 100
    Legislative branch:
    description: unicameral National Assembly or Narodno Sabranie (240 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)
    elections: last held on 26 March 2017 (next to be held spring 2021)
    election results: percent of vote by party/coalition - GERB 32.7%, BSP 27.2%, United Patriots 9.1%, DPS 9%, Volya 4.2%, other 17.8%; seats by party/coalition - GERB 95, BSP 80, United Patriots 27, DPS 26, Volya 12; composition - men 183, women 57, percent of women 23.8%
    Judicial branch:
    highest courts: Supreme Court of Cassation (consists of a chairman and approximately 72 judges organized into penal, civil, and commercial colleges); Supreme Administrative Court (organized into 2 colleges with various panels of 5 judges each); Constitutional Court (consists of 12 justices); note - Constitutional Court resides outside the judiciary
    judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court of Cassation and Supreme Administrative judges elected by the Supreme Judicial Council or SJC (consists of 25 members with extensive legal experience) and appointed by the president; judges can serve until mandatory retirement at age 65; Constitutional Court justices elected by the National Assembly and appointed by the president and the SJC; justices appointed for 9-year terms with renewal of 4 justices every 3 years
    subordinate courts: appeals courts; regional and district courts; administrative courts; courts martial
    Political parties and leaders:
    Alternative for Bulgarian Revival or ABV [Rumen PETKOV]
    Attack (Ataka) [Volen Nikolov SIDEROV]
    Bulgarian Agrarian People’s Union [Nikolay NENCHEV]
    Bulgarian Socialist Party or BSP [Korneliya NINOVA]
    Bulgaria of the Citizens or DBG [Dimiter DELCHEV]]
    Citizens for the European Development of Bulgaria or GERB [Boyko BORISSOV]
    Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria or DSB [Atanas ATANASOV]
    Democrats for Responsibility, Solidarity, and Tolerance or DOST [Lyutvi MESTAN]
    IMRO - Bulgarian National Movement or IMRO-BNM [Krasimir KARAKACHANOV]
    Movement for Rights and Freedoms or DPS [Mustafa KARADAYI]
    National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria or NFSB [Valeri SIMEONOV]
    Reformist Bloc or RB (a four-party alliance including DBG and SDS)
    United Patriots (alliance of IMRO-BNM, NFSB, and Attack)
    Union of Democratic Forces or SDS [Bozhidar LUKARSKI]
    Yes! Bulgaria [Hristo IVANOV]
    Volya [Veselin MARESHKI]
    International organization participation:
    Diplomatic representation in the US:
    Ambassador Tihomir Anguelov STOYTCHEV (since 27 June 2016)
    chancery: 1621 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 387-0174
    FAX: [1] (202) 234-7973
    consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York
    Diplomatic representation from the US:
    chief of mission: Ambassador Herro MUSTAFA (since 18 October 2019)
    telephone: [359] (2) 937-5100
    embassy: 16 Kozyak Street, Sofia 1408
    mailing address: American Embassy Sofia, US Department of State, 5740 Sofia Place, Washington, DC 20521-5740
    FAX: [359] (2) 937-5320
    Flag description:
    three equal horizontal bands of white (top), green, and red; the pan-Slavic white-blue-red colors were modified by substituting a green band (representing freedom) for the blue

    note: the national emblem, formerly on the hoist side of the white stripe, has been removed

    National symbol(s):
    lion; national colors: white, green, red
    National anthem:
    name: "Mila Rodino" (Dear Homeland)
    lyrics/music: Tsvetan Tsvetkov RADOSLAVOV

    note: adopted 1964; composed in 1885 by a student en route to fight in the Serbo-Bulgarian War

  • Economy :: Bulgaria
  • Economy - overview:

    Bulgaria, a former communist country that entered the EU in 2007, has an open economy that historically has demonstrated strong growth, but its per-capita income remains the lowest among EU members and its reliance on energy imports and foreign demand for its exports makes its growth sensitive to external market conditions.

    The government undertook significant structural economic reforms in the 1990s to move the economy from a centralized, planned economy to a more liberal, market-driven economy. These reforms included privatization of state-owned enterprises, liberalization of trade, and strengthening of the tax system - changes that initially caused some economic hardships but later helped to attract investment, spur growth, and make gradual improvements to living conditions. From 2000 through 2008, Bulgaria maintained robust, average annual real GDP growth in excess of 6%, which was followed by a deep recession in 2009 as the financial crisis caused domestic demand, exports, capital inflows and industrial production to contract, prompting the government to rein in spending. Real GDP growth remained slow - less than 2% annually - until 2015, when demand from EU countries for Bulgarian exports, plus an inflow of EU development funds, boosted growth to more than 3%. In recent years, strong domestic demand combined with low international energy prices have contributed to Bulgaria’s economic growth approaching 4% and have also helped to ease inflation. Bulgaria’s prudent public financial management contributed to budget surpluses both in 2016 and 2017.

    Bulgaria is heavily reliant on energy imports from Russia, a potential vulnerability, and is a participant in EU-backed efforts to diversify regional natural gas supplies. In late 2016, the Bulgarian Government provided funding to Bulgaria’s National Electric Company to cover the $695 million compensation owed to Russian nuclear equipment manufacturer Atomstroyexport for the cancellation of the Belene Nuclear Power Plant project, which the Bulgarian Government terminated in 2012. As of early 2018, the government was floating the possibility of resurrecting the Belene project. The natural gas market, dominated by state-owned Bulgargaz, is also almost entirely supplied by Russia. Infrastructure projects such as the Inter-Connector Greece-Bulgaria and Inter-Connector Bulgaria-Serbia, which would enable Bulgaria to have access to non-Russian gas, have either stalled or made limited progress. In 2016, the Bulgarian Government established the State eGovernment Agency. This new agency is responsible for the electronic governance, coordinating national policies with the EU, and strengthening cybersecurity.

    Despite a favorable investment regime, including low, flat corporate income taxes, significant challenges remain. Corruption in public administration, a weak judiciary, low productivity, lack of transparency in public procurements, and the presence of organized crime continue to hamper the country's investment climate and economic prospects.

    GDP (purchasing power parity):
    $153.5 billion (2017 est.)
    $148.2 billion (2016 est.)
    $142.6 billion (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 76
    GDP (official exchange rate):
    $56.94 billion (2017 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate:
    3.6% (2017 est.)
    3.9% (2016 est.)
    3.6% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 94
    GDP - per capita (PPP):
    $21,800 (2017 est.)
    $20,900 (2016 est.)
    $19,900 (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 87
    Gross national saving:
    25.4% of GDP (2017 est.)
    21.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
    21.2% of GDP (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 58
    GDP - composition, by end use:
    household consumption: 61.6% (2017 est.)
    government consumption: 16% (2017 est.)
    investment in fixed capital: 19.2% (2017 est.)
    investment in inventories: 1.7% (2017 est.)
    exports of goods and services: 66.3% (2017 est.)
    imports of goods and services: -64.8% (2017 est.)
    GDP - composition, by sector of origin:
    agriculture: 4.3% (2017 est.)
    industry: 28% (2017 est.)
    services: 67.4% (2017 est.)
    Agriculture - products:
    vegetables, fruits, tobacco, wine, wheat, barley, sunflowers, sugar beets; livestock
    electricity, gas, water; food, beverages, tobacco; machinery and equipment, automotive parts, base metals, chemical products, coke, refined petroleum, nuclear fuel; outsourcing centers
    Industrial production growth rate:
    3.6% (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 80
    Labor force:
    3.357 million (2017 est.)

    note: number of employed persons

    country comparison to the world: 102
    Labor force - by occupation:
    agriculture: 6.8%
    industry: 26.6%
    services: 66.6% (2016 est.)
    Unemployment rate:
    6.2% (2017 est.)
    7.7% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 93
    Population below poverty line:
    23.4% (2016 est.)
    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: 1.9%
    highest 10%: 31.2% (2017)
    revenues: 20.35 billion (2017 est.)
    expenditures: 19.35 billion (2017 est.)
    Taxes and other revenues:
    35.7% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 58
    Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
    1.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 16
    Public debt:
    23.9% of GDP (2017 est.)
    27.4% of GDP (2016 est.)

    note: defined by the EU's Maastricht Treaty as consolidated general government gross debt at nominal value, outstanding at the end of the year in the following categories of government liabilities: currency and deposits, securities other than shares excluding financial derivatives, and loans; general government sector comprises the subsectors: central government, state government, local government, and social security funds

    country comparison to the world: 181
    Fiscal year:
    calendar year
    Inflation rate (consumer prices):
    1.2% (2017 est.)
    -1.3% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 63
    Current account balance:
    $2.562 billion (2017 est.)
    $1.207 billion (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 36
    $29.08 billion (2017 est.)
    $25.37 billion (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 65
    Exports - partners:
    Germany 13.5%, Italy 8.3%, Romania 8.2%, Turkey 7.7%, Greece 6.5%, Belgium 4.2%, France 4.1% (2017)
    Exports - commodities:
    clothing, footwear, iron and steel, machinery and equipment, fuels, agriculture, tobacco, IT components
    $31.43 billion (2017 est.)
    $26.66 billion (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 66
    Imports - commodities:
    machinery and equipment; metals and ores; chemicals and plastics; fuels, minerals, and raw materials
    Imports - partners:
    Germany 12.3%, Russia 10.3%, Italy 7.3%, Romania 7.1%, Turkey 6.2%, Spain 5.3%, Greece 4.4% (2017)
    Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
    $28.38 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $25.13 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 51
    Debt - external:
    $42.06 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $35.98 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 72
    Exchange rates:
    leva (BGN) per US dollar -
    1.63 (2017 est.)
    1.86 (2016 est.)
    1.768 (2015 est.)
    1.7644 (2014 est.)
    1.4742 (2013 est.)
  • Energy :: Bulgaria
  • Electricity access:
    electrification - total population: 100% (2016)
    Electricity - production:
    42.29 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 57
    Electricity - consumption:
    32.34 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 60
    Electricity - exports:
    9.187 billion kWh (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 23
    Electricity - imports:
    4.568 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 41
    Electricity - installed generating capacity:
    10.75 million kW (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 57
    Electricity - from fossil fuels:
    39% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 170
    Electricity - from nuclear fuels:
    20% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 8
    Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:
    23% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 83
    Electricity - from other renewable sources:
    19% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 41
    Crude oil - production:
    1,000 bbl/day (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 91
    Crude oil - exports:
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 99
    Crude oil - imports:
    133,900 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 39
    Crude oil - proved reserves:
    15 million bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 84
    Refined petroleum products - production:
    144,300 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 60
    Refined petroleum products - consumption:
    97,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 82
    Refined petroleum products - exports:
    92,720 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 45
    Refined petroleum products - imports:
    49,260 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 83
    Natural gas - production:
    79.28 million cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 83
    Natural gas - consumption:
    3.313 billion cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 70
    Natural gas - exports:
    31.15 million cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 52
    Natural gas - imports:
    3.256 billion cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 44
    Natural gas - proved reserves:
    5.663 billion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 88
    Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
    46.31 million Mt (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 63
  • Communications :: Bulgaria
  • Telephones - fixed lines:
    total subscriptions: 1,120,392
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 16 (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 76
    Telephones - mobile cellular:
    total subscriptions: 8,387,160
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 119 (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 98
    Telephone system:
    general assessment: inherited an extensive but antiquated telecommunications network from the Soviet era; quality has improved with a modern digital trunk line now connecting switching centers in most of the regions; remaining areas are connected by digital microwave radio relay; Bulgaria has a mature mobile market with active competition (2018)
    domestic: fixed-line 16 per 100 persons, mobile-cellular teledensity, fostered by multiple service providers, is over 119 telephones per 100 persons (2018)
    international: country code - 359; Caucasus Cable System via submarine cable provides connectivity to Ukraine, Georgia and Russia; a combination submarine cable and land fiber-optic system provides connectivity to Italy, Albania, and Macedonia; satellite earth stations - 3 (1 Intersputnik in the Atlantic Ocean region, 2 Intelsat in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions) (2019)
    Broadcast media:
    4 national terrestrial TV stations with 1 state-owned and 3 privately owned; a vast array of TV stations are available from cable and satellite TV providers; state-owned national radio broadcasts over 3 networks; large number of private radio stations broadcasting, especially in urban areas
    Internet country code:
    Internet users:
    total: 4,274,328
    percent of population: 59.8% (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 85
    Broadband - fixed subscriptions:
    total: 1,903,946
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 27 (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 55
  • Military and Security :: Bulgaria
  • Military expenditures:
    3.25% of GDP (2019 est.)
    1.48% of GDP (2018)
    1.24% of GDP (2017)
    1.26% of GDP (2016)
    1.26% of GDP (2015)
    country comparison to the world: 22
    Military and security forces:
    Bulgarian Armed Forces: Land Forces (aka Army), Naval Forces, Bulgarian Air Forces (Voennovazdushni Sili, VVS) (2019)
    Military service age and obligation:
    18-27 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription ended in January 2008; service obligation 6-9 months (2012)
  • Transportation :: Bulgaria
  • National air transport system:
    number of registered air carriers: 8 (2015)
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 44 (2015)
    annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 1,118,689 (2015)
    annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 1,583,340 mt-km (2015)
    Civil aircraft registration country code prefix:
    LZ (2016)
    68 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 72
    Airports - with paved runways:
    total: 57 (2017)
    over 3,047 m: 2 (2017)
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 17 (2017)
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 12 (2017)
    under 914 m: 26 (2017)
    Airports - with unpaved runways:
    total: 11 (2013)
    914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2013)
    under 914 m: 9 (2013)
    1 (2013)
    2765 km gas, 346 km oil, 378 km refined products (2017)
    total: 5,114 km (2014)
    standard gauge: 4,989 km 1.435-m gauge (2,880 km electrified) (2014)
    narrow gauge: 125 km 0.760-m gauge (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 37
    total: 19,512 km (2011)
    paved: 19,235 km (includes 458 km of expressways) (2011)
    unpaved: 277 km (2011)

    note: does not include Category IV local roads

    country comparison to the world: 115
    470 km (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 83
    Merchant marine:
    total: 83
    by type: bulk carrier 5general cargo 16, oil tanker 8, other 54 (2019)
    country comparison to the world: 98
    Ports and terminals:
    major seaport(s): Burgas, Varna (Black Sea)
  • Transnational Issues :: Bulgaria
  • Disputes - international:


    Refugees and internally displaced persons:
    refugees (country of origin): 17,161 (Syria) (2018)
    stateless persons: 92 (2018)

    note: 55,480 estimated refugee and migrant arrivals (January 2015-February 2020); Bulgaria is predominantly a transit country and hosts approximately 992 migrants and asylum seekers as of the end of September 2018; 2,576 migrant arrivals in 2018

    Trafficking in persons:
    current situation: Bulgaria is a source and, to a lesser extent, a transit and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor; Bulgaria is one of the main sources of human trafficking in the EU; women and children are increasingly sex trafficked domestically, as well as in Europe, Russia, the Middle East, and the US; adults and children become forced laborers in agriculture, construction, and the service sector in Europe, Israel, and Zambia; Romanian girls are also subjected to sex trafficking in Bulgaria
    tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Bulgaria does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; in 2014, authorities prosecuted and convicted fewer traffickers and issued suspended sentences for the majority of those convicted; victim protection efforts declined and were minimal relative to the number of victims identified; funding for the state’s two NGO-operated shelters was significantly cut, forcing them to close; specialized services for child and adult male victims were non-existent; the government took action to combat trafficking-related complicity among public officials and police officers (2015)
    Illicit drugs:
    major European transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin and, to a lesser degree, South American cocaine for the European market; limited producer of precursor chemicals; vulnerable to money laundering because of corruption, organized crime; some money laundering of drug-related proceeds through financial institutions