Bulgaria Terrain: mostly mountains with lowlands in north and southeast;

Natural Resources: bauxite, copper, lead, zinc, coal, timber, arable land;

Natural Hazards: earthquakes; landslides;

Population: 7,037,935 (July 2012 est.)


Introduction: 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.

People and Society

Population 7,037,935 (July 2012 est.)

Languages Bulgarian (official) 84.5%, Turkish 9.6%, Roma 4.1%, other and unspecified 1.8% (2001 census)

Religions Bulgarian Orthodox 82.6%, Muslim 12.2%, other Christian 1.2%, other 4% (2001 census)

Median Age total: 41.9 years
male: 39.6 years
female: 44 years (2011 est.)

Age Structure 0-14 years: 13.9% (male 506,403/female 480,935)
15-64 years: 67.9% (male 2,367,680/female 2,446,799)
65 years and over: 18.2% (male 522,343/female 769,475) (2011 est.)


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
Legal System civil law


Location Southeastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea, between Romania and Turkey

Area – Comparative slightly larger than Tennessee
Area total: 110,879 sq km
land: 108,489 sq km
water: 2,390 sq km

Climate temperate; cold, damp winters; hot, dry summers
Terrain mostly mountains with lowlands in north and southeast
Natural Hazards earthquakes; landslides
Natural Resources bauxite, copper, lead, zinc, coal, timber, arable land


Bulgaria, a former Communist country that entered the EU on 1 January 2007, averaged more than 6% annual growth from 2004 to 2008, driven by significant amounts of bank lending, consumption, and foreign direct investment. Successive governments have demonstrated a commitment to economic reforms and responsible fiscal planning, but the global downturn sharply reduced domestic demand, exports, capital inflows, and industrial production. GDP contracted by 5.5% in 2009, stagnated in 2010, despite a significant recovery in exports, and grew approximately 2.2% in 2011. Despite having a favorable investment regime, including low, flat corporate income taxes, significant challenges remain. Corruption in public administration, a weak judiciary, and the presence of organized crime continue to hamper the country’s investment climate and economic prospects.

GDP (Official Exchange Rate) $54.3 billion (2011 est.)
Budget revenues: $19.11 billion
expenditures: $20.69 billion (2011 est.)
Current Account Balance $283.3 million (2011 est.)
-$578.9 million (2010 est.)
Imports – Commodities machinery and equipment; metals and ores; chemicals and plastics; fuels, minerals, and raw materials
Exports – Commodities clothing, footwear, iron and steel, machinery and equipment, fuels


Broadcast Media 4 national terrestrial television stations with 1 state-owned and 3 privately-owned; a vast array of TV stations are available from cable and satellite TV providers; state-owned national radio broadcasts over 3 networks; large number of private radio stations broadcasting, especially in urban areas (2010)

Internet Users 3.395 million (2009)
Internet Hosts 937,195 (2011)
Telephones – Mobile Cellular 10.585 million (2010)
Telephones – Main Lines in Use 2.2 million (2010)


Airports 210 (2010)
Heliports 3 (2010)
Roadways total: 40,231 km
paved: 39,587 km (includes 418 km of expressways)
unpaved: 644 km (2008)

Waterways 470 km (2009)
Ports and Terminals Burgas, Varna
Merchant Marine total: 37
by type: bulk carrier 16, cargo 10, chemical tanker 1, liquefied gas 2, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 2, roll on/roll off 4, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: 27 (Germany 25, Russia 2)
registered in other countries: 31 (Comoros 8, Malta 7, Panama 6, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 10) (2010)


Manpower Fit for Military Service males age 16-49: 1,320,955
females age 16-49: 1,337,616 (2010 est.)

Transitional Issues

Disputes – International none