Bulgaria’s population as at December 31 2018 was 7 000 039, a decrease of 0.7 per cent compared with the last day of 2017, the National Statistical Institute (NSI) said in its annual report on the country’s demographics, released on April 12.
Put another way, in the course of a year, Bulgaria’s population dropped by 49 995, the NSI report said.
Reporting on the category “natural increase of the population” – defined as meaning the difference between the number of live births and deaths, the NSI noted that since 1990, Bulgaria’s natural increase had been negative.
Because of the negative natural increase, Bulgaria’s population decreased by 46 329 people in 2018, the NSI said.
In 2018, the male population of Bulgaria was 3 395 701 (48.5 per cent) and the female population 3 604 338 (51.5 per cent).
The NSI said that the process of population ageing in Bulgaria had continued in 2018.
By the end of 2018, the number of people aged 65 and over was 1 493 119, or 21.3 per cent of the country’s population. Compared to 2017, the share of population aged 65 and over increased by 0.3 percentage points.
The institute said that just less than a quarter of the women in Bulgaria were aged 65 and over, while for men the figure was 17.7 per cent.
“The difference is due to the higher mortality among male population and consequently – lower life expectancy,” the NSI said.
The district with the highest share of the population aged 65 and more was Vidin (29.6 per cent) while the lowest was in Sofia (17.5 per cent).
About 14.4 per cent of Bulgaria’s population were children aged up to 15. The number, 1 004 845, was 0.1 percentage points higher than in 2017.
The district of Sliven had the highest percentage of under-15s – 18.5 per cent – while the lowest was in Sliven, 11.5 per cent.
There were 62 576 children born in Bulgaria in 2018, of which 62 197 (99.4 per cent) were live born. The number of live births decreased by 1 758 children, 2.7 per cent compared to the previous year.
The crude birth rate was highest in Sliven and lowest in Smolyan.
The NSI said that in Bulgaria in 2018, the number of women defined as being of “fertile age” was 1 491 000, a decrease of 26 000 compared with 2017 and 159 000 compared with 2011.
A total of 3073 babies were born to mothers younger than 18. At the same time, the trend of children being born to women older than 40 was continuing, 2154 in 2018 compared with 2108 in 2017.
The average number of live born children per women in 2018 was 1.56, unchanged compared with 2017, the NSI said.
The mean age of women at first birth has increased from 27.1 in 2017 to 27.2 years in 2018. The mean age of women at first birth varies from 30.2 in Sofia to 23 in the district of Sliven.
The NSI said that the tendency of an increase of extramarital births in Bulgaria, since 1991, was continuing steadily.
The share has increased from 18.5% in 1992 to 42.0% in 2001 and 56.2% in 2011.
The number of children born outside marriage in 2018 was 36 656, about 58.6% of the total number of births.
The share of extramarital births in rural areas (65.0%) was higher than in urban (56.5%).
“For 78.8% of the extramarital births data on the fathers exists, i.e. most probably the children are grown up in families by parents cohabiting without marriage,” the NSI said.
The highest share of extramarital births was in the districts Vidin (79.2 per cent) and Lovech (75.9 per cent). The share of extramarital births in all country regions is higher than 50 per cent except in the districts of Silistra (49.9 per cent), Blagoevgrad (45.1 per cent), Razgrad (45 per cent) and Kurdzhali (35.9 per cent).
The number of deaths in Bulgaria in 2018 was 108 526 and the crude mortality rate 15.4‰. Compared to the previous year the number of deaths has decreased by 1265 or 1.2 per cent.
“The crude mortality rate remains too high,” the NSI said.
Mortality among males (16.5‰) continues to be higher than among females (14.4‰).
In 2018 there were 1081 deaths of males per 1000 deaths of females. The considerable differences in mortality in urban and rural areas also remain unchanged. Mortality rate in rural areas (21.8‰) is higher than in urban ones (13.2‰).
The mortality rate for the EU28 in 2017 was 10.3‰.
“The mortality rate in Bulgaria is highest among the EU member states,” the NSI said.
The life expectancy in Bulgaria in the 2016-2018 period was 74.8 years, unchanged from the 2015-2017 period, the statistics institute said.
Among women, life expectancy was 78.4 per years and among men, 71.4 years.
Among Bulgaria’s urban population, life expectancy was 75.7 years, and among its rural population, 72.8 years, the NSI said.
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