Reference > World Factbook, 2008
  The World Factbook.  2008.
Flag of Bulgaria                                Map of Bulgaria
Background:The Bulgars, a Central Asian Turkic tribe, merged with the local Slavic inhabitants in the late 7th century to form the first Bulgarian state. In succeeding centuries, Bulgaria struggled with the Byzantine Empire to assert its place in the Balkans, but by the end of the 14th century the country was overrun by the Ottoman Turks. Northern Bulgaria attained autonomy in 1878 and all of Bulgaria became independent from the Ottoman Empire in 1908. Having fought on the losing side in both World Wars, Bulgaria fell within the Soviet sphere of influence and became a People's Republic in 1946. Communist domination ended in 1990, when Bulgaria held its first multiparty election since World War II and began the contentious process of moving toward political democracy and a market economy while combating inflation, unemployment, corruption, and crime. The country joined NATO in 2004 and the EU in 2007.
Location:Southeastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea, between Romania and Turkey
Geographic coordinates:43 00 N, 25 00 E
Map references:Europe
Area:total: 110,910 sq km
land: 110,550 sq km
water: 360 sq km
Area—comparative:slightly larger than Tennessee
Land boundaries:total: 1,808 km
border countries: Greece 494 km, Macedonia 148 km, Romania 608 km, Serbia 318 km, Turkey 240 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 extremes:lowest point: Black Sea 0 m
highest point: Musala 2,925 m
Natural resources:bauxite, copper, lead, zinc, coal, timber, arable land
Land use:arable land: 29.94%
permanent crops: 1.9%
other: 68.16% (2005)
Irrigated land:5,880 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:19.4 cu km (2005)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):total: 6.92 cu km/yr (3%/78%/19%)
per capita: 895 cu m/yr (2003)
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
Population:7,322,858 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:0-14 years: 13.9% (male 521,117/female 496,022)
15-64 years: 68.7% (male 2,472,424/female 2,556,102)
65 years and over: 17.4% (male 523,660/female 753,533) (2007 est.)
Median age:total: 40.9 years
male: 38.8 years
female: 43.1 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:-0.837% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:9.62 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:14.28 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:-3.71 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.051 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.967 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.695 male(s)/female
total population: 0.924 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:total: 19.16 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 22.75 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 15.37 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:total population: 72.57 years
male: 68.95 years
female: 76.4 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:1.39 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS—adult prevalence rate:less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS—people living with HIV/AIDS:346 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS—deaths:100 (2001 est.)
Nationality:noun: Bulgarian(s)
adjective: Bulgarian
Ethnic groups:Bulgarian 83.9%, Turk 9.4%, Roma 4.7%, other 2% (including Macedonian, Armenian, Tatar, Circassian) (2001 census)
Religions:Bulgarian Orthodox 82.6%, Muslim 12.2%, other Christian 1.2%, other 4% (2001 census)
Languages:Bulgarian 84.5%, Turkish 9.6%, Roma 4.1%, other and unspecified 1.8% (2001 census)
Literacy:definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98.2%
male: 98.7%
female: 97.7% (2001 census)
Country name:conventional long form: Republic of Bulgaria
conventional short form: Bulgaria
local long form: Republika Balgariya
local short form: Balgariya
Government type:parliamentary democracy
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
Administrative divisions:28 provinces (oblasti, singular - oblast); Blagoevgrad, Burgas, Dobrich, Gabrovo, Khaskovo, Kurdzhali, Kyustendil, Lovech, Montana, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Pleven, Plovdiv, Razgrad, Ruse, Shumen, Silistra, Sliven, Smolyan, Sofiya, Sofiya-Grad, Stara Zagora, Turgovishte, Varna, Veliko Turnovo, 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:adopted 12 July 1991
Legal system:civil law and criminal law based on Roman law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations
Suffrage:18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:chief of state: President Georgi PARVANOV (since 22 January 2002); Vice President Angel MARIN (since 22 January 2002)
head of government: Prime Minister Sergei STANISHEV (since 16 August 2005); Deputy Prime Ministers Ivaylo KALFIN, Daniel VULCHEV, and Emel ETEM (since 16 August 2005)
cabinet: Council of Ministers nominated by the prime minister and elected by the National Assembly
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 22 and 29 October 2006 (next to be held in 2011); chairman of the Council of Ministers (prime minister) nominated by the president and elected by the National Assembly; deputy prime ministers nominated by the prime minister and elected by the National Assembly
election results: Georgi PARVANOV reelected president; percent of vote - Georgi PARVANOV 77.3%, Volen SIDEROV 22.7%; Sergei STANISHEV elected prime minister, result of legislative vote - 168 to 67
Legislative branch:unicameral National Assembly or Narodno Sobranie (240 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 25 June 2005 (next to be held in June 2009)
election results: percent of vote by party - CfB 31.1%, NMS2 19.9%, MRF 12.7%, ATAKA 8.2%, UDF 7.7%, DSB 6.5%, BPU 5.2%, other 8.7%; seats by party - CfB 83, NMS2 53, MRF 33, UDF 20, ATAKA 17, DSB 17, BPU 13, independents 4; note - seats by party as of January 2008 - CfB 82, NMS2 36, MRF 34, UDF 16, DSB 16, Bulgarian New Democracy 16, BPU 13, ATAKA 11, independents 16
Judicial branch:Supreme Administrative Court; Supreme Court of Cassation; Constitutional Court (12 justices appointed or elected for nine-year terms); Supreme Judicial Council (consists of the chairmen of the two Supreme Courts, the Chief Prosecutor, and 22 other members; responsible for appointing the justices, prosecutors, and investigating magistrates in the justice system; members of the Supreme Judicial Council elected for five-year terms, 11 elected by the National Assembly and 11 by bodies of the judiciary)
Political parties and leaders:ATAKA (Attack Coalition) (coalition of parties headed by the Attack National Union); Attack National Union [Volen SIDEROV]; Bulgarian Agrarian National Union-People's Union or BANU [Anastasia MOZER]; Bulgarian New Democracy [Borislav RALCHEV]; Bulgarian People's Union or BPU (coalition of UFD, IMRO, and BANU); Bulgarian Socialist Party or BSP [Sergei STANISHEV]; Citizens for the European Development of Bulgaria or GERB [Boyko BORISOV]; Coalition for Bulgaria or CfB (coalition of parties dominated by BSP) [Sergei STANISHEV]; Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria or DSB [Ivan KOSTOV]; Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization or IMRO [Krasimir KARAKACHANOV]; Movement for Rights and Freedoms or MRF [Ahmed DOGAN]; National Movement for Stability and Progress or NDSV [Simeon SAXE-COBURG-GOTHA]; New Time [Emil KOSHLUKOV]; Union of Democratic Forces or UDF [Petar STOYANOV]; Union of Free Democrats or UFD [Stefan SOFIYANSKI]; United Democratic Forces or UtDF (a coalition of center-right parties dominated by UDF)
Political pressure groups and leaders:Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Bulgaria or CITUB; Podkrepa Labor Confederation; numerous regional, ethnic, and national interest groups with various agendas
International organization participation:ACCT, Australia Group, BIS, BSEC, CE, CEI, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EU (new member), FAO, G- 9, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM (guest), NATO, NSG, OAS (observer), OIF, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, SECI, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMEE, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WEU (associate affiliate), WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US:chief of mission: Ambassador Elena B. POPTODOROVA
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 John Ross BEYRLE
embassy: 16 Kozyak Street, Sofia 1407
mailing address: American Embassy Sofia, US Department of State, 5740 Sofia Place, Washington, DC 20521-5740
telephone: [359] (2) 937-5100
FAX: [359] (2) 937-5320
Flag description:three equal horizontal bands of white (top), green, and red
note: the national emblem, formerly on the hoist side of the white stripe, has been removed
Economy—overview:Bulgaria, a former communist country that entered the EU on 1 January 2007, has experienced strong growth since a major economic downturn in 1996. Successive governments have demonstrated commitment to economic reforms and responsible fiscal planning, but have failed so far to rein in rising inflation and large current account deficits. Bulgaria has averaged more than 6% growth since 2004, attracting significant amounts of foreign direct investment, but corruption in the public administration, a weak judiciary, and the presence of organized crime remain significant challenges.
GDP (purchasing power parity):$86.73 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):$39.07 billion (2007 est.)
GDP—real growth rate:6.1% (2007 est.)
GDP—per capita (PPP):$11,800 (2007 est.)
GDP—composition by sector:agriculture: 8.1%
industry: 31.3%
services: 60.7% (2007 est.)
Labor force:3.44 million (2007 est.)
Labor force—by occupation:agriculture: 8.5%
industry: 33.6%
services: 57.9% (2nd qtr. 2006 est.)
Unemployment rate:8% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line:14.1% (2003 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: 2.9%
highest 10%: 25.4% (2005)
Distribution of family income—Gini index:31.6 (2005)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):7.8% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):27.6% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget:revenues: $16.62 billion
expenditures: $15.18 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt:18.2% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture—products:vegetables, fruits, tobacco, wine, wheat, barley, sunflowers, sugar beets; livestock
Industries:electricity, gas, water; food, beverages, tobacco; machinery and equipment, base metals, chemical products, coke, refined petroleum, nuclear fuel
Industrial production growth rate:5.5% (2007 est.)
Electricity—production:45.7 billion kWh (2006)
Electricity—consumption:37.4 billion kWh (2006)
Electricity—exports:7.8 billion kWh (2006)
Electricity—imports:0 kWh (2006)
Oil—production:3,661 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil—consumption:108,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil—exports:51,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil—imports:138,800 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil—proved reserves:15 million bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas—production:407,000 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—consumption:5.179 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—exports:0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—imports:5.179 billion cu m (2005)
Natural gas—proved reserves:5.703 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance:$-7.189 billion (2007 est.)
Exports:$19.77 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports—commodities:clothing, footwear, iron and steel, machinery and equipment, fuels
Exports—partners:Turkey 12%, Italy 10.4%, Germany 10%, Greece 8.2%, Belgium 6.8%, France 4.3% (2006)
Imports:$28.79 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports—commodities:machinery and equipment; metals and ores; chemicals and plastics; fuels, minerals, and raw materials
Imports—partners:Germany 15%, Italy 10.6%, Turkey 7.2%, Greece 6.3%, China 5%, France 4.9%, Romania 4.5% (2006)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:$13.8 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt—external:$29.29 billion (30 June 2007)
Stock of direct foreign investment—at home:$20.86 billion (2006 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment—abroad:$345.8 million (2006 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:$10.32 billion (2006)
Economic aid—recipient:$742 million (2005-06 est.)
Currency (code):lev (BGL)
Exchange rates:leva per US dollar - 1.4366 (2007), 1.5576 (2006), 1.5741 (2005), 1.5751 (2004), 1.7327 (2003)
Fiscal year:calendar year
Telephones—main lines in use:2.399 million (2006)
Telephones—mobile cellular:8.253 million (2006)
Telephone system:general assessment: an extensive but antiquated telecommunications network inherited from the Soviet era; quality has improved; the Bulgaria Telecommunications Company's fixed-line monopoly terminated in 2005 when alternative fixed-line operators were given access to its network; a drop in fixed-line connections in recent years has been offset by a sharp increase in mobile-cellular telephone use fostered by multiple service providers
domestic: a fairly modern digital cable trunk line now connects switching centers in most of the regions; the others are connected by digital microwave radio relay
international: country code - 359; submarine cable provides connectivity to Ukraine and Russia; a combination submarine cable and land fiber-optic system provides connectivity to Italy, Albania, and Macedonia; satellite earth stations - 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region); 2 Intelsat (Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions) (2007)
Radio broadcast stations:AM 31, FM 63, shortwave 2 (2001)
Television broadcast stations:39 (plus 1,242 repeaters) (2001)
Internet country
Internet hosts:298,781 (2007)
Internet users:1.87 million (2006)
Airports:214 (2007)
Airports—with paved runways:total: 131
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 18
1,524 to 2,437 m: 15
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 95 (2007)
Airports—with unpaved runways:total: 83
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 9
under 914 m: 72 (2007)
Heliports:4 (2007)
Pipelines:gas 2,500 km; oil 339 km; refined products 156 km (2007)
Railways:total: 4,294 km
standard gauge: 4,049 km 1.435-m gauge (2,710 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 245 km 0.760-m gauge (2006)
Roadways:total: 44,033 km
paved: 43,593 km (includes 333 km of expressways)
unpaved: 440 km (2004)
Waterways:470 km (2007)
Merchant marine:total: 71 ships (1000 GRT or over) 833,153 GRT/1,194,660 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 37, cargo 14, chemical tanker 4, container 6, liquefied gas 1, passenger/cargo 2, petroleum tanker 3, roll on/roll off 4
foreign-owned: 3 (Germany 1, Ireland 1, Russia 1)
registered in other countries: 39 (Comoros 1, Malta 15, Mongolia 2, Panama 1, Slovakia 7, St Vincent and The Grenadines 13) (2007)
Ports and terminals:Burgas, Varna
Military branches:Bulgarian Armed Forces: Ground Forces, Naval Forces, Bulgarian Air Forces (Bulgarski Voennovazdyshni Sily, BVVS) (2008)
Military service age and obligation:18-27 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - 9 months; as of May 2006, 67% of the Bulgarian Army comprised of professional soldiers; conscription into the Army to end as of 1 January 2008; Air and Air Defense Forces and Naval Forces became fully professional at the end of 2006; Bulgarian Armed Forces encountered difficulties meeting conscript quotas in April 2007 (2007)
Manpower available for military service:males age 18-49: 1,661,211
females age 18-49: 1,660,982 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:males age 18-49: 1,302,037
females age 18-49: 1,365,126 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:males age 18-49: 51,023
females age 18-49: 48,651 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures—percent of GDP:2.6% (2005 est.)
Transnational Issues
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; some money laundering of drug-related proceeds through financial institutions


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