The rate of marriage in Bulgaria is in decline while the divorce rate has risen, the country’s National Statistical Institute said on April 12 in a report for 2016. At the moment, in the case of a divorce, a marriage in Bulgaria lasts a few months less than 16 years.
There were 26 803 marriages in Bulgaria in 2016, a total 917 fewer than in 2015.
Bulgaria had a marriage rate of 3.8 per 1000 population in 2016, a slight drop from 2015 but higher than the rates between 2009 and 2014. However, it is sharply down compared with the marriage rate of 6.8 recorded in 1990.
The average age at which a Bulgarian man marries for the first time is just older than 31 among men and just over 28 among women. This was a matter of an increase of a few months compared with 2015.
The highest marriage rates were in Dobrich, in north-eastern Bulgaria, at 5.1 per cent, and Kurdzhali, in the eastern Rhodopes in southern Bulgaria, at five per cent. The north-western city of Vratsa had Bulgaria’s lowest marriage rate in 2016, at 2.2 per cent.
At the same time, the NSI noted that in 2016, three-quarters of marriages were among the urban population in Bulgaria.
There were 10 603 divorces in Bulgaria in 2013, an increase of 120 over the figure for 2015. Just more than 81 per cent were among people living in cities.
Using the official terminology, the highest number of divorces were by “mutual agreement” (63.4 per cent), followed by “incompability of temperament” (28.4 per cent) and “virtual parting” (6.1 per cent).
The NSI said that for 9.2 per cent of women and 10.4 per cent of men who divorced in 2016, this was not their first divorce.
The average duration of a Bulgarian marriage before a divorce was 15.7 years, the statistics institute said.
Noting that there were 64 984 live births in Bulgaria in 2016, the NSI said that close to 59 per cent of these were out of wedlock.
In close to 77 per cent of cases of births outside marriage, the identity of the father was known, the NSI said, adding that this probably meant that the children were being raised in a household where the parents were cohabiting without being married.
The highest percentage of extramarital births was in the northern city of Vidin (75.5 per cent) and in Vratsa (75 per cent). The share of extramarital births was higher than 50 per cent in all country regions except Razgrad, Blagoevgrad and Kurdzhali – the latter the lowest, at 38.4 per cent.
(Photo: Kai Kuusik-Greenbaum)