Bulgaria Population, People, Languages and Religions

By | January 21, 2022

Bulgaria Country Overview

Where is Bulgaria located? Bulgaria is a republic located in Southeastern Europe. The capital of Bulgaria is Sofia. The time zone map of the world divides countries into world time zones along lines of longitude. These time zones then provide information about the size of the time difference between the respective country and the official world time (also called UTC). Bulgaria is located within the Eastern European time zone, which means that the time there is always 2 hours ahead of world clocks.

Bulgaria National Flag

Population Distribution

As of 2023, the latest population of Bulgaria is 6,966,899, based on our calculation of the current data from UN (United Nations).

Total population 6,966,899
Population growth rate -0.65%
Birth rate 8.70 births per 1,000 people
Life expectancy
Overall 74.08 years
Men 70.49 years
Women 77.89 years
Age structure
0-14 years 14.60%
15-64 years 65.85%
65 years and above 19.54%
Median age 42.10 years
Gender ratio (Male to Female) 0.92
Population density 62.83 residents per km²
Urbanization 69.80%
85% Bulgarians, 9% Turks, 5% Roma; Others (Russians, Armenians, Aromanians, Greeks) – proportion of foreigners 2015: 0.9%
Bulgarian Orthodox 83.5%, Muslim 13%, Catholics 1.5%, Uniate Catholic 0.2%, Jews 0.8%, Protestants, Gregorian-Armenian, and Other 1% (1998)
Human Development Index (HDI) 0.816
HDI ranking 52nd out of 194

People in Bulgaria

Around 7.2 million people live in Bulgaria. The majority of them, namely 74 percent, live in a city. Most of the cities are in the lowlands. After Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas, Russe and Stara Sagora are the largest cities in the country. On average, every woman has 1.6 children. Many Bulgarians left their homeland in the 1990s to look for work elsewhere, especially in Spain, Italy and Germany. 76 percent of the residents of Bulgaria belong to the Orthodox Church. 1.1 percent are Protestants and 0.8 percent are Catholics. 10 percent are Muslim.

Bulgarians, Turks and Roma

85 percent of the population belong to the Bulgarian people. The Bulgarians are a South Slavic people and thus related to Serbs, Croats or Macedonians. About a quarter to a third of the Bulgarians come from the southern regions of Thrace and Macedonia, from where they fled in the early 20th century until after the First World War.

Almost 9 percent of Bulgaria’s residents are Turks. They are also called Balkan Turks. They settled in the Balkans from the 14th century, when this region belonged to the Ottoman Empire. Many Turks then stayed there, even when the Ottoman (Turkish) rule was pushed back from the 19th century.

4.9 percent of the population are Roma. This ethnic group also lives in Romania, Slovakia and Hungary. Everywhere they are a minority without a state of their own. What they have in common is their language, Romani. The Roma were previously persecuted and displaced. Even today they are mostly outsiders to society. They have a poorer education and find work more difficult than others. They are abused and people look down on them.

There are still small minorities living in Bulgaria. These are Russians, Armenians, Romanians and Pomaks. Pomaks are Muslims who live in the southwest of Bulgaria.

Languages in Bulgaria

Bulgarian is the official language in Bulgaria. It is also spoken by all residents, but only by 85 percent as their mother tongue. Bulgarians of Turkish descent speak Turkish as their mother tongue. Their Turkish, however, differs from the Turkish spoken in Turkey. It was influenced by Bulgarian. The members of the Roma also speak their own language, Romani.

Bulgarian is a Slavic language and belongs to the South Slavic branch. It is one of the oldest Slavic languages. It is unusual that there are no grammatical cases and no infinitives (basic form of the Tu word / verb).

Bulgarian is written in Cyrillic letters. The appearance of the lower case letters differs very much from the normal upright letters.

By the way, there are some words in Bulgarian that originally come from German. If you’re ever in Bulgaria, you might get on with a sunroof (шибидах), baking powder (бакпулвер) or landscape (ландшафт)!