Bulgarian birth rate continues to drop – statistics institute

The number of live births in Bulgaria in 2015 was lower than the previous year, with the country’s population continuing to decrease, as the mortality rate – the highest in the European Union – went up.

This emerges from an annual report by the National Statistical Institute (NSI) on demographics in Bulgaria.

There were 66 370 children born in Bulgaria in 2015, of which 65 950 (99.4 per cent) were live born. The number of live births decreased by 1 635 children or 2.4 per cent compared to 2014.

The crude birth rate (meaning, the number of live born children per 1000 persons of the average annual population during the year) dropped slightly.

Among live births, 34 069 were males and 31 881 females.

The highest birth rates were in Sliven, Sofia and Bourgas, and the lowest in Smolyan and Vidin.

There were 1109 “multi-foetal” births – in the terminology of the NSI, meaning more than one baby born to the same woman at the same time – in 2015. The vast majority of these were births of twins. Just five cases were of triplets.

The NSI noted that the trend of babies being born to parents in Bulgaria who were not married was continuing to increase, as it had since 1991.

In Bulgaria in 2015, a total of 58.7 per cent of children were born outside marriage. In 1992, the figure was 18.5 per cent.

In rural areas, births out of wedlock added up to 66.1 per cent, while in urban areas, the figure was 56.2 per cent.

The NSI said that in 75.2 per cent of extramarital births, the names of the fathers were recorded. “i.e. most probably the children are grown up in families, by parents cohabiting without marriage”.

The highest share of births out of wedlock was in Vidin (77.4 per cent) and Vratsa (73.5 per cent). The only three districts where the share of extramarital births was less than 50 per cent were Razgrad (45.2 per cent), Blagoevgrad (42.3 per cent) and Kurdzhali (40.7 per cent).

The NSI said that the number of deaths in Bulgaria in 2015 was 1.1 per cent higher than the year before.
“The crude mortality rate remains too high,” the institute said.

The death rate among men continued to be higher than that among women, and mortality rates in rural areas remained higher than in urban areas.

The NSI said that life expectancy among Bulgarians was now 74.5 years – 71.1 for men and 78 for women.

The population of Bulgaria was 7 153 784 as of December 31 2015, according to the NSI – a drop of 48 414 people (or 0.7 per cent) from the 2014 figure.

The male population was 3 477 177 (48.6 per cent) and female 3 676 607 (51.4 per cent)

The process of population ageing in Bulgaria was continuing.

By the end of 2015, the number of people in Bulgaria aged 65 and over was 1 461 786, or 20.4 per cent of the country population. Compared to 2014, the share of population aged 65 and over increased by 0.4 percentage points and compared to 2001, by 3.5 percentage points.

The share of people aged 65 and over was highest in the districts of Vidin (28.5 per cent), Gabrovo (27.5 per cent) and Lovech (26.1 per cent). In 18 districts, the share of people aged 65 and over is higher than the country average.

The proportion of people categorised as elderly was lowest in Sofia,16.8 per cent, and in Blagoevgrad and Varna, 18 per cent.

The share of population under 15 years of age was highest in the districts of Sliven, 18.1 per cent, and Bourgas, 15.3 per cent, the NSI said.

The institute said that the mean age of the population had increased from 40.4 years in 2001 to 41.2 years in 2005 and reached 43.3 years at the end of 2015.

In urban areas, the mean age of the population of Bulgaria is 42.3 years, compared to 46.1 years in rural areas.

The tendency of population ageing was influencing the distribution of population under, at and over working age, the NSI said.

The figures for people over working age were influenced not only by the population aging, but also by legislative changes concerning the retirement age, the NSI said.

In 2015, retirement age for women in Bulgaria was 60 years and eight months and for men, 63 years and eight months.

As of December 31 2015, Bulgaria had a working age population of 4 349 000, or 60.8 per cent of the total population.

Of Bulgaria’s working-age population, 2 284 000 were men and 2 065 000 women.

The working age population in Bulgaria in 2015 was 54 000 lower than in 2014, the NSI said.

The report said that in 2015, there were six cities in Bulgaria that had populations of more than 100 000 – Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Bourgas, Rousse and Stara Zagora. A total of 33.5 per cent of Bulgaria’s population lived in these six cities, according to the NSI.

(Photo: Niels Timmer/freeimages.com)



The Sofia Globe staff

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