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Bulgaria :: Europe



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.



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: 105

Area - comparative:

almost identical in size to Virginia; slightly larger than Tennessee

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


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.)

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: 227

Birth rate:

8.3 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 218

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: 113

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: 0.95 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth:

27.1 years (2017 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: 148

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: 203

Drinking water source:

improved: urban: 100% of population
rural: 98% of population
total: 100% of population
unimproved: urban: 0% of population
rural: 2% of population
total: 0% of population (2017 est.)

Current Health Expenditure:

8.1% (2017)

Physicians density:

4.03 physicians/1,000 population (2015)

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 (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

<.1% (2019 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

3,300 (2019 est.)
country comparison to the world: 131

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

<100 (2019 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate:

25% (2016)
country comparison to the world: 53

Children under the age of 5 years underweight:

1.9% (2014)
country comparison to the world: 112

Education expenditures:

4.1% of GDP (2017)
country comparison to the world: 92


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 (2018)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:

total: 12.7%
male: 13.2%
female: 11.9% (2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 108


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

Legal system:

civil law

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 - BORISOV 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 in March 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:

chief of mission: 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


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.

GDP real growth rate:

3.39% (2019 est.)
3.2% (2018 est.)
3.5% (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 89

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

3.1% (2019 est.)
2.8% (2018 est.)
2% (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 148

Credit ratings:

Fitch rating: BBB (2017)
Moody's rating: Baa1 (2020)
Standard & Poors rating: BBB (2019)

GDP (purchasing power parity) - real:

$151.132 billion (2019 est.)
$146.181 billion (2018 est.)
$141.645 billion (2017 est.)
note: data are in 2010 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$68.49 billion (2019 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$9,888 (2019 est.)
$9,494 (2018 est.)
$9,133 (2017 est.)
note: data are in 2010 dollars
country comparison to the world: 116

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 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.)

Ease of Doing Business Index scores:

72.0 (2020)

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:

3.113 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 rate:

5.66% (2019 est.)
6.18% (2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 91

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

Current account balance:

$2.06 billion (2019 est.)
$611 million (2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 39


$42.369 billion (2019 est.)
$40.779 billion (2018 est.)
$40.091 billion (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 64

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


$44.853 billion (2019 est.)
$42.841 billion (2018 est.)
$40.53 billion (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 63

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 -
1.61885 (2020 est.)
1.7669 (2019 est.)
1.7172 (2018 est.)
1.7644 (2014 est.)
1.4742 (2013 est.)


Electricity access:

electrification - total population: 100% (2020)

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: 169

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


Telephones - fixed lines:

total subscriptions: 974,056
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 13.89 (2019 est.)
country comparison to the world: 75

Telephones - mobile cellular:

total subscriptions: 8,149,389
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 116.21 (2019 est.)
country comparison to the world: 97

Telecommunication systems:

general assessment: telecom sector has benefited from Bulgaria's adaptation of EU regulatory measures, more privatization and less govt. monopoly; population is moving to fiber networks for broadband; govt. investment in programs for broadband in rural areas; 5G trials by 2 operators; quality has improved with a modern digital trunk line 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 (2020)
domestic: fixed-line 14 per 100 persons, mobile-cellular teledensity, fostered by multiple service providers, is over 116 telephones per 100 persons (2019)
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 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated

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: 4,571,851
percent of population: 64.78% (July 2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 87

Broadband - fixed subscriptions:

total: 1,903,946
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 27 (2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 55


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 mt-km (2018)

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: 117


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)

Military and Security

Military and security forces:

Bulgarian Armed Forces: Land Forces (aka Army), Naval Forces, Bulgarian Air Forces (Voennovazdushni Sili, VVS), Special Forces; Ministry of Interior: Border Guards (2020)

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 service personnel strengths:

the Bulgarian Armed Forces have approximately 35,000 active duty personnel (17,000 Army; 4,000 Navy; 7,000 Air Force; 7,000 Joint Service/Central Staff) (2019 est.)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions:

the Bulgarian Armed Forces inventory consists primarily of Soviet-era equipment, although in recent years, Bulgaria has attempted to procure more modern weapons systems from Western countries; since 2010, it has acquired limited quantities of military equipment from France, Israel, Italy, Norway, and the US (2019 est.)

Military deployments:

160 Afghanistan (NATO) (2020)

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)


Terrorist group(s):

Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham; Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps/Qods Force (2020)
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

Disputes - international:


Refugees and internally displaced persons:

refugees (country of origin): 17,551 (Syria) (2019)
stateless persons: 116 (2019)
note: 58,294 estimated refugee and migrant arrivals (January 2015-November 2020); Bulgaria is predominantly a transit country

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