Photos of Bulgaria

Countries shown in this late winter satellite image of the southern Balkan Peninsula include Italy (left center edge), Greece (below center), and Turkey (right edge). At upper right is the Black Sea, at center is the Aegean Sea, at upper left is the Adriatic Sea, and at bottom left is the Mediterranean Sea. North of Turkey are Bulgaria and Romania. Moving clockwise from top left are Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, and Albania. North of Albania is Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Red dots indicating scattered fires are fairly widespread across Bulgaria. Image courtesy of NASA.

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 Ottoman Turks overran the country. 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, the EU in 2007, and the Schengen Area for air and sea travel in 2024.

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

comparison ranking: total 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

987 sq km (2013)

Major rivers (by length in km)

Dunav (Danube) (shared with Germany [s], Austria, Slovakia, 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

Population

total: 6,782,659

male: 3,303,491

female: 3,479,168 (2024 est.)

comparison rankings: female 106; male 107; total 107

Nationality

noun: Bulgarian(s)

adjective: Bulgarian

Ethnic groups

Bulgarian 78.5%, Turkish 7.8%, Roma 4.1%, other 1.2%, unspecified 9.4% (2021 est.)

note: Romani populations are usually underestimated in official statistics and may represent 9–11% of Bulgaria's population

Languages

Bulgarian (official) 77.3%, Turkish 7.9%, Romani 3.5%, other 1%, unspecified 10.4% (2021 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

Christian 64.7%, Muslim 9.8%, other 0.1%, none 4.7%, unspecified 20.7% (2021 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 13.8% (male 479,586/female 453,423)

15-64 years: 65.2% (male 2,250,962/female 2,171,279)

65 years and over: 21% (2024 est.) (male 572,943/female 854,466)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 57.3

youth dependency ratio: 22

elderly dependency ratio: 35.3

potential support ratio: 2.8 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 45.1 years (2024 est.)

male: 43.3 years

female: 47 years

comparison ranking: total 19

Population growth rate

-0.66% (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 226

Birth rate

7.9 births/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 216

Death rate

14.2 deaths/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 7

Net migration rate

-0.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 111

Population distribution

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

Urbanization

urban population: 76.7% of total population (2023)

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

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

1.288 million SOFIA (capital) (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female

total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2024 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

26.4 years (2020 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

7 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 158

Infant mortality rate

total: 7.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2024 est.)

male: 8.7 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 6.6 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 149

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 76.1 years (2024 est.)

male: 72.9 years

female: 79.4 years

comparison ranking: total population 118

Total fertility rate

1.51 children born/woman (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 202

Gross reproduction rate

0.73 (2024 est.)

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

8.5% of GDP (2020)

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.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

25% (2016)

comparison ranking: 53

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.)

comparison ranking: total 9

Tobacco use

total: 39% (2020 est.)

male: 40.9% (2020 est.)

female: 37.1% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 7

Education expenditures

4% of GDP (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 117

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 98.4%

male: 98.7%

female: 98.2% (2021)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 14 years

male: 13 years

female: 14 years (2020)

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

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: 76.7% of total population (2023)

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

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Revenue from forest resources

0.22% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 90

Revenue from coal

0.14% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 24

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 17.29 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 41.71 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 6.77 megatons (2020 est.)

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)

Dunav (Danube) (shared with Germany [s], Austria, Slovakia, 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: 840 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 3.48 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 760 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

21.3 billion cubic meters (2020 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)

head of government: Caretaker Prime Minister Dimitar GLAVCHEV (since 9 April 2024)

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 - Rumen RADEV (independent, supported by Bulgarian Socialist Party) 59.4%, Tsetska TSACHEVA (GERB) 36.2%, neither 4.5%

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Assembly or Narodno Sabranie (240 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by open-list, proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 2 April 2023 (snap election to be held on 9 June 2024)

election results: percent of vote by party/coalition - GERB-SDS 25.4%, PP-DB 23.5%, Revival 13.6%, DPS 13.2%, BSP for Bulgaria 8.6%, ITN 3.9%, other 11.8%; seats by party/coalition GERB-SDS 69, PP-DB 64, Revival 37, DPS 36, BSP for Bulgaria 23, ITN 11; composition - men 179, women 61, percentage women 25.4%

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

BSP for Bulgaria [Korneliya NINOVA] (electoral alliance of BSP, PKT, Ecoglasnost)
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 (electoral 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 [Dobromira KOSTOVA, Vladislav PENEV]
Movement for Rights and Freedoms or DPS [Mustafa KARADAYI]
Political Club Thrace or PKT [Stefan NACHEZ]
Revival [Kostadin KOSTADINOV]
Stand Up.BG or IS.BG [Maya MANOLOVA]
There is Such a People or ITN [Slavi TRIFONOV]
Union of Democratic Forces or SDS [Rumen HRISTOV] (alliance with GERB) 
Yes! Bulgaria [Hristo IVANOV]
We Continue the Change or PP [Kiril PETKOV and Asen VASILEV]
We Continue the Change and Democratic Bulgaria or PP-DB [Kiril PETKOV, Asen VASILEV, Hristo IVANOV, and Atanas ATANASOV] (electoral alliance of PP, DB, Yes! Bulgaria)

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, UNHRC, UNIDO, UNMIL, UNOOSA,  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 5770

FAX: [1] (202) 234-7973

email address and website:
office@bulgaria-embassy.org

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

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

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Kenneth MERTEN (since 7 April 2023)

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

upper-middle-income EU economy; improving living standards and very robust economic growth; coal-based infrastructure; legacy structural vulnerabilities and widespread corruption; increasing Russian economic relations, particularly through energy trade

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$174.307 billion (2022 est.)
$167.722 billion (2021 est.)
$155.786 billion (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 73

Real GDP growth rate

3.93% (2022 est.)
7.66% (2021 est.)
-3.97% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 109

Real GDP per capita

$27,000 (2022 est.)
$24,400 (2021 est.)
$22,500 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 77

GDP (official exchange rate)

$90.346 billion (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

15.33% (2022 est.)
3.3% (2021 est.)
1.67% (2020 est.)

note: annual % change based on consumer prices

comparison ranking: 191

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: BBB (2017)

Moody's rating: Baa1 (2020)

Standard & Poors rating: BBB (2019)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 4.3% (2017 est.)

industry: 28% (2017 est.)

services: 67.4% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 85; industry 95; agriculture 133

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 seeds, milk, barley, rapeseed, potatoes, grapes, tomatoes, chicken (2022)

note: top ten agricultural products based on tonnage

Industries

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

11.92% (2022 est.)

note: annual % change in industrial value added based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 14

Labor force

3.147 million (2022 est.)

note: number of people ages 15 or older who are employed or seeking work

comparison ranking: 104

Unemployment rate

4.27% (2022 est.)
5.27% (2021 est.)
5.12% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment

comparison ranking: 84

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 14.2% (2021 est.)

male: 14.3%

female: 14%

comparison ranking: total 122

Population below poverty line

22.9% (2021 est.)

note: % of population with income below national poverty line

Gini Index coefficient - distribution of family income

40.5 (2020 est.)

note: index (0-100) of income distribution; higher values represent greater inequality

comparison ranking: 53

Average household expenditures

on food: 19.3% of household expenditures (2021 est.)

on alcohol and tobacco: 5.3% of household expenditures (2021 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.1%

highest 10%: 32.6% (2020 est.)

note: % share of income accruing to lowest and highest 10% of population

Remittances

2.25% of GDP (2022 est.)
2.35% of GDP (2021 est.)
2.93% of GDP (2020 est.)

note: personal transfers and compensation between resident and non-resident individuals/households/entities

Budget

revenues: $24.487 billion (2020 est.)

expenditures: $26.544 billion (2020 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

1.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 16

Public debt

32.82% of GDP (2021 est.)
32.26% of GDP (2020 est.)
26.94% of GDP (2019 est.)

note: central government debt as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 163

Taxes and other revenues

20.63% (of GDP) (2021 est.)

note: central government tax revenue as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 82

Current account balance

-$591.65 million (2022 est.)
-$1.516 billion (2021 est.)
-$31.23 million (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - net trade and primary/secondary income in current dollars

comparison ranking: 109

Exports

$60.712 billion (2022 est.)
$51.49 billion (2021 est.)
$39.541 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - exports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 61

Exports - partners

Germany 13%, Romania 13%, Italy 7%, Turkey 6%, Greece 6% (2022)

note: top five export partners based on percentage share of exports

Exports - commodities

refined petroleum, natural gas, garments, wheat, refined copper (2022)

note: top five export commodities based on value in dollars

Imports

$60.252 billion (2022 est.)
$50.048 billion (2021 est.)
$38.197 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - imports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 62

Imports - partners

Germany 10%, Russia 10%, Turkey 9%, Romania 7%, Greece 6% (2022)

note: top five import partners based on percentage share of imports

Imports - commodities

crude petroleum, natural gas, copper ore, cars, packaged medicine (2022)

note: top five import commodities based on value in dollars

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$40.989 billion (2022 est.)
$39.188 billion (2021 est.)
$37.86 billion (2020 est.)

note: holdings of gold (year-end prices)/foreign exchange/special drawing rights in current dollars

comparison ranking: 55

Debt - external

$39.059 billion (2019 est.)
$41.139 billion (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 77

Exchange rates

leva (BGN) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
1.86 (2022 est.)
1.654 (2021 est.)
1.716 (2020 est.)
1.747 (2019 est.)
1.657 (2018 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 99.8% (2021)

electrification - urban areas: 99.9% (2021)

electrification - rural areas: 99.5% (2021)

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.)

comparison rankings: imports 46; exports 27; installed generating capacity 61; transmission/distribution losses 144; consumption 63

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.)

Nuclear energy

Number of operational nuclear reactors: 2 (2023)

Number of nuclear reactors under construction: 0

Net capacity of operational nuclear reactors: 2.01GW (2023)

Percent of total electricity production: 34.6% (2021)

Percent of total energy produced: 40% (2021)

Number of nuclear reactors permanently shut down: 2

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.)

Refined petroleum products - production

144,300 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 60

Refined petroleum products - exports

92,720 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 45

Refined petroleum products - imports

49,260 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 83

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.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 67

Energy consumption per capita

103.924 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 55

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 691,000 (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 10 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 82

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 7.964 million (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 117 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 101

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 11 per 100 persons, mobile-cellular teledensity, fostered by multiple service providers, is over 115 telephones per 100 persons (2021)

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 users

total: 5.175 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 75% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 90

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

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

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 30 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 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

111 (2024)

comparison ranking: 48

Heliports

8 (2024)

Pipelines

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

Railways

total: 4,029 km (2020) 2,871 km electrified

comparison ranking: total 45

Roadways

total: 19,117 km (2022)

note: does not include Category IV local roads

comparison ranking: total 116

Waterways

470 km (2009)

comparison ranking: 92

Merchant marine

total: 78 (2023)

by type: bulk carrier 2, general cargo 13, oil tanker 8, other 55

comparison ranking: total 100

Ports

total ports: 2 (2024)

large: 1

medium: 0

small: 1

very small: 0

ports with oil terminals: 2

key ports: Burgas, Varna

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Bulgarian Armed Forces (aka Bulgarian Army): Land Forces, Air Force, Navy

Ministry of Interior: General Directorate National Police (GDNP), General Directorate Border Police (GDBP), General Directorate for Combating Organized Crime (GDCOC), Fire Safety and Civil Protection General Directorate, Special Unit for Combating Terrorism (SOBT) (2024)

note: the GDMP includes the Gendarmerie, a special police force with military status deployed to secure important facilities, buildings and infrastructure, to respond to riots, and to counter militant threats

Military expenditures

2.1% of GDP (2024 est.)
1.9% of GDP (2023 est.)
1.6% of GDP (2022)
1.6% of GDP (2021)
1.6% of GDP (2020)

comparison ranking: 57

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 30,000 active-duty personnel (19,000 Army; 4,000 Navy; 7,000 Air Force) (2023)

note: in 2021, Bulgaria released a 10-year defense plan which called for an active military strength of 43,000

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 (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18-40 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription ended in 2007; service obligation 6-9 months (2023)

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

the Bulgarian military is responsible for guaranteeing Bulgaria’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity, providing support to international peace and security missions, and contributing to national security in peacetime, including such missions as responding to disasters or assisting with border security; the military trains regularly including in multinational exercises with regional partners and with NATO since Bulgaria joined the organization in 2004; it also participates in overseas peacekeeping and other security missions under the EU, NATO, and the UN; in 2022, Bulgaria established and began leading a NATO multinational battlegroup as part of an effort to boost NATO defenses in Eastern Europe following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; in 2021, Bulgaria approved a 10-year defense development program, which included calls for equipment upgrades and procurements, boosts in manpower, organizational reforms, and greater focus on such areas as cyber defense, communications, logistics support, and research and development

the Bulgarian military has participated in several significant conflicts since its establishment in 1878, including the Serbo-Bulgarian War (1885), the First Balkan War (1912-13), the Second Balkan War (1913), World War I (1915-1918), and World War II (1941-45); during the Cold War it was one of the Warsaw Pact’s largest militaries with over 150,000 personnel, eight ground combat divisions, and more than 200 Soviet-made combat aircraft; the principal combat units of the modern-day Land Forces are two mechanized infantry brigades and regiments of artillery and mountain infantry, while the Air Force has a mix of about 20 US-made and Soviet-era fighter aircraft; it is in the midst of retiring the Soviet fighters and replacing them with additional US-made aircraft; NATO partners provide assistance with protecting Bulgaria’s airspace; the Navy has four frigates, including one Soviet-era and three secondhand vessels acquired from Belgium, plus three Soviet-era corvettes; Bulgaria retired the last of its Soviet-era submarines in 2011; the military also has a joint special operations command, a communications, information support, and cyber defense command, and a joint forces command, which was established in 2021 to coordinate the operations of the services (2023)

Space

Space agency/agencies

Space Research and Technology Institute - Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (SRTI-BAS; formed in 1987 but originated from the Central Laboratory for Space Research and the Bulgarian Aerospace Agency, which was established in 1969) (2024)

Space program overview

has a long history of involvement in space-related activities going back to the 1960s; develops, produces, and operates satellites, mostly with foreign partners; researches, develops, and produces other space technologies, including those related to astrophysics, remote sensing, data exploitation, optics, and electronics; has specialized in producing scientific instruments for space research; has more than 20 research institutes; Cooperating State of the European Space Agency (ESA) since 2015; cooperates with a variety of foreign space agencies and commercial entities, including those of the ESA and EU (and bi-laterally with their member states), India, Japan, Russia, and the US (2024)

note: further details about the key activities, programs, and milestones of the country’s space program, as well as government spending estimates on the space sector, appear in Appendix S

Terrorism

Terrorist group(s)

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): 22,226 (Syria) (mid-year 2022); 72,775 (Ukraine) (as of 8 March 2024)

stateless persons: 1,129 (2022)

note: 106,227 estimated refugee and migrant arrivals (January 2015-January 2024); Bulgaria is predominantly a transit country

Trafficking in persons

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List — Bulgaria does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so; officials convicted more traffickers, informally adopted new National Action Plans for 2022 and 2023, and utilized seized assets to supplement shelters and service centers assisting victims; the government mandated specialized training for investigative prosecutors and magistrates and required assignment of trafficking cases to those individuals; the National Investigative Service established a cyber unit, focusing on internet-based exploitation, including trafficking; Bulgaria and Germany cooperated on a bilateral program to combat labor trafficking, information campaigns targeting the large number of Bulgarians seeking jobs in Germany, and a referral mechanism for trafficking cases between countries; however, the government did not demonstrate overall increasing efforts, compared with the previous reporting period, to expand its anti-trafficking capacity; courts continued to issue suspended sentences for most convicted traffickers; officials did not adequately screen for trafficking indicators or identify victims, particularly among vulnerable groups such as Roma; the government provided limited funding to NGOs for victim services and a national commission for capacity building and implementation of anti-trafficking activities, limiting the sustainability of the government’s anti-trafficking systems; a lack of resources, legal authority, and training impeded law enforcement; corruption in law enforcement and the judiciary hindered progress, and alleged complicity in trafficking crimes persisted; therefore, Bulgaria remained on Tier 2 Watch List for the second consecutive year (2023) 

trafficking profile: human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Bulgaria, and traffickers exploit victims from Bulgaria abroad; Bulgaria remains one of the primary source countries of human trafficking in the EU; vulnerable groups include Bulgarians with little education and income, the unemployed, children in residential care, homeless individuals, individuals working in commercial sex, migrants, and Roma; most victims are Roma or individuals with disabilities or mental health conditions; Bulgarians of Turkish ethnicity and Romani women and girls account for most of the sex trafficking victims in Bulgaria; family- or clan-based organizations and independent traffickers are overwhelmingly of Romani ethnicity and usually know the victims, who are also Roma; sex trafficking rings typically consist of Bulgarian traffickers who cooperate with foreign nationals in destination countries but do not have direct ties to organized crime groups; traffickers exploit Bulgarian women and girls in sex trafficking throughout Western Europe and in Bulgaria, and exploit Bulgarian men and boys in forced labor across Europe, predominantly in agriculture, construction, and hospitality industries; Romani children are exploited in forced labor, particularly begging and pick-pocketing in Austria, France, and Sweden; child trafficking cases reportedly are increasing; thousands of Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and seeking sanctuary in Bulgaria are highly vulnerable to trafficking; corruption among law enforcement and judiciary officials continues to enable some trafficking crimes (2023)

Illicit drugs

source country for amphetamine tablets