Wall of the Belogradchik Fortress in the rocks near Vidin.
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Introduction

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.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

Southeastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea, between Romania and Turkey

Geographic coordinates

43 00 N, 25 00 E

Area

total: 110,879 sq km

land: 108,489 sq km

water: 2,390 sq km

country comparison to the world: 105

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

Coastline

354 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Climate

temperate; cold, damp winters; hot, dry summers

Terrain

mostly mountains with lowlands in north and southeast

Elevation

highest point: Musala 2,925 m

lowest point: Black Sea 0 m

mean elevation: 472 m

Natural resources

bauxite, copper, lead, zinc, coal, timber, arable land

Land use

agricultural land: 46.9% (2018 est.)

arable land: 29.9% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 1.5% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 15.5% (2018 est.)

forest: 36.7% (2018 est.)

other: 16.4% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

1,020 sq km (2012)

Major rivers (by length in km)

Danube (shared with Germany [s], Austria, Slovakia, Czechia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Ukraine, Moldova, and Romania [m]) - 2,888 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: (Black Sea) Danube (795,656 sq km)

Population distribution

a fairly even distribution throughout most of the country, with urban areas attracting larger populations

Natural hazards

earthquakes; landslides

Geography - note

strategic location near Turkish Straits; controls key land routes from Europe to Middle East and Asia

People and Society

Nationality

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

Languages

Bulgarian (official) 76.8%, Turkish 8.2%, Romani 3.8%, other 0.7%, unspecified 10.5% (2011 est.)

major-language sample(s):
Светoвен Алманах, незаменимият източник за основна информация. (Bulgarian)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

Bulgarian audio sample:

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

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.)

2022 population pyramid
2022 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

Birth rate

8.05 births/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 216

Death rate

14.41 deaths/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 5

Net migration rate

-0.29 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 117

Population distribution

a fairly even distribution throughout most of the country, with urban areas attracting larger populations

Urbanization

urban population: 76.4% of total population (2022)

rate of urbanization: -0.28% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

1.287 million SOFIA (capital) (2022)

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: 1.07 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/female

total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2022 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

26.4 years (2020 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

10 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 144

Infant mortality rate

total: 7.98 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 9.02 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 6.88 deaths/1,000 live births (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 150

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 75.57 years

male: 72.36 years

female: 78.97 years (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 120

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 99.5% of population

rural: 97.4% of population

total: 99% of population

unimproved: urban: 0.5% of population

rural: 2.6% of population

total: 1% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

7.1% of GDP (2019)

Physicians density

4.2 physicians/1,000 population (2018)

Hospital bed density

7.5 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2020 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

(2019 est.) <100

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 11.18 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 4.44 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 1.72 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 4.96 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0.06 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 9

Tobacco use

total: 39% (2020 est.)

male: 40.9% (2020 est.)

female: 37.1% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 7

Literacy

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: 14 years

male: 14 years

female: 14 years (2019)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 14.2%

male: 14.6%

female: 13.7% (2020 est.)

Environment

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-Heavy Metals, Air Pollution-Multi-effect Protocol, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protection, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Marine Dumping-London Protocol, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 2006, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 18.82 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 41.71 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 6.77 megatons (2020 est.)

Climate

temperate; cold, damp winters; hot, dry summers

Land use

agricultural land: 46.9% (2018 est.)

arable land: 29.9% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 1.5% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 15.5% (2018 est.)

forest: 36.7% (2018 est.)

other: 16.4% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 76.4% of total population (2022)

rate of urbanization: -0.28% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0.14% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 23

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 3.011 million tons (2015 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 572,993 tons (2015 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 19% (2015 est.)

Major rivers (by length in km)

Danube (shared with Germany [s], Austria, Slovakia, Czechia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Ukraine, Moldova, and Romania [m]) - 2,888 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: (Black Sea) Danube (795,656 sq km)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 882 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 3.942 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 834.5 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

21.3 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Government

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

Capital

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

Independence

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)

Constitution

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

Legal system

civil law

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

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

Suffrage

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 Gulub DONEV (since 2 August 2022); note - Prime Minister DONEV leads a caretaker government until snap elections are held on 2 October 2022

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 14 and 21 November 2021 (next to be held in fall 2026); 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: 2021: Rumen RADEV reelected president in second round; percent of vote in the first round - Rumen RADEV (independent) 49.4%, Anastas GERDZHIKOV (independent) 22.8%, Mustafa KARADAYI (DPS) 11.6%, Kostadin KOSTADINOV (Revival) 3.9%, Lozan PANOV (independent) 3.7%, other 8.6%; percent of vote in the second round - Rumen RADEV 66.7%, Anastas GERDZHIKOV 31.8%, neither 1.5%

2016: Rumen RADEV elected president in second round; percent of vote in the second round - Rumen RADEV (independent, supported by Bulgarian Socialist Party) 59.4%, Tsetska TSACHEVA (GERB) 36.2%, neither 4.5%

2011: Rosen PLEVNELIEV elected president in the second round; percent of vote in the second round - Rosen PLEVNELIEV (independent) 52.6%, Ivailo KALFIN (BSP) 47.4%

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 2 October 2022 (next election to be held in 2026)

election results: percent of vote by party/coalition - GERB-SDS 24.5%, PP 19.5%, DPS 13.3%, Revival 9.8%, BSP for Bulgaria 9%, DB 7.2%, BV 4.5%, other 12.2%; seats by party/coalition GERB-SDS 67, PP 53, DPS 36, Revival 27, BSP for Bulgaria 25, DB 20, BV 12; composition - men NA, women NA, percent of women NA%

Judicial branch

highest court(s): 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

Agrarian People's Union or ZNS [Roumen YONCHEV]
BSP for Bulgaria [Korneliya NINOVA] (alliance of BSP, PKT, New Dawn, Ecoglasnost)
Bulgaria of the Citizens or DBG [Dimitar DELCHEV]
Bulgarian Agrarian People’s Union or BZNS [Nikolay NENCHEV]
Bulgarian Rise or BV [Stefan YANEV]
Bulgarian Socialist Party or BSP [Korneliya NINOVA]
Citizens for the European Development of Bulgaria or GERB [Boyko BORISOV] (alliance with SDS) 
Democratic Bulgaria or DB (alliance of Yes! Bulgaria, DSB, and The Greens) [Atanas ATANASOV, Hristo IVANOV]
Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria or DSB [Atanas ATANASOV]
Ecoglasnost [Emil GEORGIEV]
Green Movement or The Greens [Borislav SANDOV, Vladislav PENEV]
Middle European Class or SEC [Konstantin BACHIISKI]
Movement for Rights and Freedoms or DPS [Mustafa KARADAYI]
Movement 21 or D21 [Tatyana DONCHEVA]
New Dawn [Mincho MINCHEV]
Political Club Thrace or PKT [Stefan NACHEZ]
Political Movement "Social Democrats" or PDS  [Elena NONEVA]
Revival [Kostadin KOSTADINOV]
Stand Up.BG or IS.BG [Maya MONOLOVA]
Stand Up.BG, We Are Coming! or IBG-NI [Maya MONOLOVA, Nikolay HADZHIGENOV] (coalition of IS.BG, D21, DBG, ENP, and ZNS)
There is Such a People or ITN [Slavi TRIFONOV]
United People's Party or ENP [Valentina VASILEVA-FILADELFEVS]
Union of Democratic Forces or SDS [Rumen HRISTOV] (alliance with GERB) 
Yes! Bulgaria [Hristo IVANOV]
Volt Bulgaria or Volt [Nastimir ANANIEV]
We Continue the Change of PP [Kiril PETKOV and Asen VASILEV] (electoral alliance of PP, PDS, SEC, and Volt)

International organization participation

Australia Group, BIS, BSEC, CD, CE, CEI, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EU, FAO, G- 9, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, IHO (pending member), ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NATO, NSG, OAS (observer), OIF, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, SELEC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIL, UNWTO, UPU, Wassenaar Arrangement, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Georgi Velikov PANAYOTOV (since 7 June 2022)

chancery: 1621 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 387-0174; [1] (202) 299-0273, [1] (202) 483-1386

FAX: [1] (202) 234-7973

email address and website:
office@bulgaria-embassy.org; Embassy.Washington@mfa.bg

https://www.bulgaria-embassy.org/en/homepage/

consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Herro MUSTAFA (since 18 October 2019)

embassy: 16, Kozyak Street, Sofia 1408

mailing address: 5740 Sofia Place, Washington, DC  20521-5740

telephone: [359] (2) 937-5100

FAX: [359] (2) 937-5320

email address and website:
acs_sofia@state.gov

https://bg.usembassy.gov/

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

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 10 (7 cultural, 3 natural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Boyana Church (c); Madara Rider (c); Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak (c); Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo (c); Rila Monastery (c); Ancient City of Nessebar (c); Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari (c); Srebarna Nature Reserve (n); Pirin National Park (n); Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians (n)

Economy

Economic 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.

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$155.06 billion (2020 est.)

$161.78 billion (2019 est.)

$156.02 billion (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 74

Real GDP growth rate

3.39% (2019 est.)

3.2% (2018 est.)

3.5% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 89

Real GDP per capita

$22,400 (2020 est.)

$23,200 (2019 est.)

$22,200 (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 83

GDP (official exchange rate)

$68.49 billion (2019 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

3.1% (2019 est.)

2.8% (2018 est.)

2% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 147

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: BBB (2017)

Moody's rating: Baa1 (2020)

Standard & Poors rating: BBB (2019)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 4.3% (2017 est.)

industry: 28% (2017 est.)

services: 67.4% (2017 est.)

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.)

Agricultural products

wheat, maize, sunflower seed, milk, barley, rapeseed, potatoes, grapes, tomatoes, watermelons

Industries

electricity, gas, water; food, beverages, tobacco; machinery and equipment, automotive parts, base metals, chemical products, coke, refined petroleum, nuclear fuel; outsourcing centers

Labor force

3.113 million (2020 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, youth ages 15-24

total: 14.2%

male: 14.6%

female: 13.7% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 113

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 1.9%

highest 10%: 31.2% (2017)

Budget

revenues: 20.35 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 19.35 billion (2017 est.)

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

Current account balance

$2.06 billion (2019 est.)

$611 million (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 39

Exports

$39.27 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$44.04 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$43.52 billion (2018 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

country comparison to the world: 64

Exports - partners

Germany 16%, Romania 8%, Italy 7%, Turkey 7%, Greece 6% (2019)

Exports - commodities

refined petroleum, packaged medicines, copper, wheat, electricity (2019)

Imports

$38.07 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$41.84 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$41.91 billion (2018 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

country comparison to the world: 65

Imports - partners

Germany 11%, Russia 9%, Italy 7%, Romania 7%, Turkey 7% (2019)

Imports - commodities

crude petroleum, copper, cars, packaged medicines, refined petroleum (2019)

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

$39.059 billion (2019 est.)

$41.139 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 77

Exchange rates

leva (BGN) per US dollar -

1.61885 (2020 est.)

1.7669 (2019 est.)

1.7172 (2018 est.)

1.7644 (2014 est.)

1.4742 (2013 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2020)

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 11.097 million kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 30,905,170,000 kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 7.115 billion kWh (2020 est.)

imports: 3.707 billion kWh (2020 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 2.767 billion kWh (2019 est.)

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 36.5% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 44.7% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 4% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 4% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 9.1% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 1.9% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Coal

production: 22.298 million metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 23.213 million metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 35,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 675,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 2.366 billion metric tons (2019 est.)

Petroleum

total petroleum production: 4,500 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 97,800 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 119,800 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 15 million barrels (2021 est.)

Natural gas

production: 62.439 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

consumption: 2,929,401,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

exports: 2.747 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

imports: 2,950,157,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

proven reserves: 5.663 billion cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

38.373 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 20.483 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 12.248 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 5.642 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 67

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 872,757 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 13 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 77

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 7,945,739 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 114 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 98

Telecommunication systems

general assessment:

Bulgaria’s telecom market was for some years affected by the difficult macroeconomic climate, as well as by relatively high unemployment and a shrinking population; these factors continue to slow investments in the sector, though revenue growth has returned since 2019; there still remains pressure on revenue growth, with consumers migrating from fixed-line voice telephony to mobile and VoIP alternatives, while the volume of SMS and MMS traffic has been affected by the growing use of alternative OTT messaging services; investing in network upgrades and its development of services based on 5G have stimulated other market players to invest in their own service provision; by the end of 2022 about 70% of the population is expected to be covered by 5G; the broadband market in Bulgaria enjoys excellent cross-platform competition; the share of the market held by DSL has fallen steadily as a result of customers being migrated to fiber networks; by early 2021 about 65% of fixed-line broadband subscribers were on fiber infrastructure; Bulgaria joins the U.S. State Department’s Clean Network initiative in a bid to protect its 5G communications networks

(2022)

domestic: fixed-line over 13 per 100 persons, mobile-cellular teledensity, fostered by multiple service providers, is over 114 telephones per 100 persons (2020)

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)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced a downturn, particularly in mobile device production; progress toward 5G implementation has resumed, as well as upgrades to infrastructure; consumer spending on telecom services has increased due to the surge in demand for capacity and bandwidth; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home is still evident, and the spike in this area has seen growth opportunities for development of new tools and increased services

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 users

total: 4,853,811 (2020 est.)

percent of population: 70% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 92

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 2,115,053 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 30 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 56

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 8 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 44

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 1,022,645 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 1.38 million (2018) mt-km

Airports - with paved runways

total: 57

over 3,047 m: 2

2,438 to 3,047 m: 17

1,524 to 2,437 m: 12

under 914 m: 26 (2021)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 11

914 to 1,523 m: 2

under 914 m: 9 (2021)

Heliports

1 (2021)

Pipelines

2,765 km gas, 346 km oil, 378 km refined products (2017)

Railways

total: 5,114 km (2014)

standard gauge: 4,989 km (2014) 1.435-m gauge (2,880 km electrified)

narrow gauge: 125 km (2014) 0.760-m gauge

country comparison to the world: 37

Roadways

total: 19,512 km (2011)

paved: 19,235 km (2011) (includes 458 km of expressways)

unpaved: 277 km (2011)

note: does not include Category IV local roads

country comparison to the world: 115

Merchant marine

total: 79

by type: bulk carrier 4, general cargo 14, oil tanker 8, other 53 (2021)

country comparison to the world: 99

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Burgas, Varna (Black Sea)

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Bulgarian Armed Forces: Land Forces (Army), Naval Forces, Bulgarian Air Forces (Voennovazdushni Sili, VVS), Joint Special Forces; Ministry of Interior: Border Guards (2022)

Military expenditures

1.7% of GDP (2022 est.)

1.6% of GDP (2021)

1.6% of GDP (2020)

3.1% of GDP (2019) (approximately $2.95 billion)

1.5% of GDP (2018) (approximately $1.72 billion)

country comparison to the world: 76

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 28,000 active duty personnel (17,000 Army; 4,000 Navy; 7,000 Air Force) (2022)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the military's inventory consists primarily of Soviet-era equipment, although in recent years Bulgaria has procured limited amounts of more modern weapons systems from some Western countries (2022)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription ended in 2007; service obligation 6-9 months (2022)

note 1: in 2021, women comprised about 17% of the Bulgarian military's full-time personnel

note 2: in 2020, Bulgaria announced a program to allow every citizen up to the age of 40 to join the armed forces for 6 months of military service in the voluntary reserve

Military - note

Bulgaria became a member of NATO in 2004; Bulgaria conducts its own air policing mission, but because of Russian aggression in the Black Sea region, NATO allies have sent detachments of fighters to augment the Bulgarian Air Force since 2014 (2022)

Terrorism

Terrorist group(s)

Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS); Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps/Qods Force

note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

Transnational Issues

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 19,014 (Syria) (mid-year 2021); 55,016 (Ukraine) (as of 1 November 2022)

stateless persons: 1,143 (mid-year 2021)

note: 80,428 estimated refugee and migrant arrivals (January 2015-August 2022); Bulgaria is predominantly a transit country

Illicit drugs

source country for amphetamine tablets