Number of foreigners living in Bulgaria well below EU average

Bulgaria is among four European Union member states with the lowest number of resident foreigners, at 0.5 per cent of the country’s 7.3 million population, well below the EU average of 6.6 per cent.
This is according to statistics for 2011 released by EU statistics office Eurostat.
According to Eurostat, there were 38 800 foreigners living in Bulgaria last year. About 8500 were from another EU state and the rest from countries outside the EU.
In 2011, 33.3 million foreign citizens lived in the 27 member states of the EU, accounting for 6.6 per cent of the EU’s population, Eurostat said. This foreign population comprised 12.8 million EU citizens living in another member state, meaning 2.5 per cent of the EU27 population, and 20.5 million non-EU citizens, or 4.1 per cent of the EU27 population.
In 2011, the largest numbers of foreign citizens were recorded in Germany (7.2 million people or nine per cent of the total population), Spain (5.7 million or 12 per cent), Italy (4.6 million or eight per cent), the United Kingdom (4.5 million or seven per cent) and France (3.8 million or six per cent).
In total, more than 75 per cent of the foreign citizens in the EU27 lived in these five member states.
Among the EU27 member states, the highest proportion of foreign citizens in the population was observed in Luxembourg (43 per cent of the total population), followed by Cyprus (20 per cent), Latvia (17 per cent) and Estonia (16 per cent). The percentage of foreign citizens was less than two per cent in Poland, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovakia.
Focusing on EU citizens, Luxembourg recorded the highest proportion of foreign EU citizens (37 per cent of the total population), followed by Cyprus (13 per cent), Belgium and Ireland (both seven per cent), Spain (five per cent) and Austria (four per cent).
Nearly 50 million foreign-born people lived in the EU member states in 2011.
Data on foreign citizens provide useful information on the part of the population with a foreign background, Eurostat said.
However, since citizenship can change over time, it is interesting to complement this information with data on the foreign-born population.
This provides supplementary information as it includes foreign citizens who have acquired the citizenship of the country of residence, but who were born abroad.
It also includes nationals born abroad (for example in the territory of a former colony) or nationals born in a part of a state which, due to dissolution or border changes, no longer belongs to the same country.
In 2011, there were 48.9 million foreign-born people living in the EU27 member states, with 16.5 million born in another member state than the one in which they live (3.3 per cent of the EU population) and 32.4 million born in a country outside the EU27 (6.4 per cent of the EU population).
In total, foreign-born people accounted for 9.7 per cent of the total population of the EU27.
The number of foreign-born people exceeded the number of foreign citizens in almost all member states, Eurostat said.
Bulgaria’s foreign-born population adds up to 78 600, or 1.1 per cent of the total population. Of these people, more than 54 per cent were born in a non-EU state and the rest in another EU country, Eurostat said.
(Photo: Ross Brown/



The Sofia Globe staff

The Sofia Globe - the Sofia-based fully independent English-language news and features website, covering Bulgaria, the Balkans and the EU. Sign up to subscribe to's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage.