Three Estimates for the Bulgaria Population by 2040 were Developed by Scientists from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
Three estimates for the population of Bulgaria up to 2040 have been developed by scientists from the Department of Demography at the Institute for Population and Human Investigation at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences on a project with measures to overcome the demographic crisis in Bulgaria commissioned by the Council of Ministers of BAS .
In the worst case scenario, by 2040, the population in Bulgaria will number 5,860,000, while in the second option, which applies partial measures to deal with the demographic crisis, we should have 6,520,000 people, said Professor Antoaneta Hristova, Director of IINC-BAS, in the National Press Club of BTA, and added that researchers from other institutes of the Academy also took part in the study. In the most favorable version, which she thinks to be quite unrealistic, the population of Bulgaria should be 6 750 000 by 2040,
The project provides a forecast for the development of Bulgaria by 2040 or simulation options based on how many of the measures proposed under the project will be implemented, Prof. Hristova said. She said that the first option for the demographic development of Bulgaria until 2040 is called inertial, where "nothing is done and everything continues as it is now." The second is the moderate option where "something is done and something is not done". The third is the favorable option where all the measures have been implemented, and for that purpose there must be a consensus among the parties about their sustainable application over time, Prof. Hristova noted.
The director of IINC-BAS summarized that the conclusion from the simulation options is that in the following years, in any case, no matter what policies are being implemented, the number of the population in Bulgaria will decrease. This should not be news since it is constantly repeated, news is what measures are being taken to overcome the negative demographic trends, she said.
Very often the word "disappearance" is used in the media, but it does not correspond to the condition of the Bulgarian population in the next decades we are talking about, said Professor Antoaneta Hristova. She said that now the number of children born by a woman of fertile age on an average is 1.5 and the forecast is an average of 1.83 by 2040. With this little difference, we can not assume that "birth rate is the key to changing demographic trends," said Prof. Antoaneta Hristova.
According to her, the birth rate in Bulgaria can be increased by the return of Bulgarians who have gone abroad since 1989, as well as other communities coming to the country.
The forecast for the structure of the population in 2040 and in the favorable and unfavorable scenario envisages increasing the population, "in high age," said Prof. Hristova. She added that, therefore, there must be special policies for this population so that it can be longer on the labor market.
Prof. Kremena Borisova noted that the population depends on the demographic processes related to the natural change of generations. Demographic processes, in addition to fertility and mortality, also include complex migration movements that have been particularly relevant for our country in recent decades. The project found that the pay of labor in Bulgaria is lower compared to a number of countries in the EU, with about 6 times the difference in both the average annual salary in Bulgaria and in the EU, Prof Borisova reports. She added that there is also strong competition between developed countries to attract labor and, in the context of free movement of people in the EU, part of our population leaves Bulgaria and seeks more attractive working and living conditions.
The survey showed that about one third of our working-age population is out of the labor market and 80 percent do not want to work on this market, Prof. Kremena Borisova said. She said that the country has formed regions with a high concentration of labor resources and a low-educated workforce that is hardly motivated to get involved in employment. "People in the labor force and outside the labor market with low education are about 1 million in 2017 and therefore measures are needed to encourage their participation in education and training," said Prof. Borisova. She also said that 25% of respondents said they would leave the country.
Prof. Tatyana Kotzeva presented data from a national representative survey on attitudes towards family policy, with most of the respondents saying that there should be free textbooks and aids, free medicines for children and free meals for schoolchildren as well as free examinations for pregnant women and free extracurricular activities for students in sports, foreign languages and arts.
The project also developed measures for the care of children from 0 to 7 years of age, as this is a "big gap in Bulgaria", Prof. Kotseva said. Among the measures are the payment of a compensatory amount to the parents if their child is not admitted to a nursery or kindergarten, to have paid home care in order for parents to return to work, as well as the offering of parent cooperatives and hourly services for children up to 5 years of age. The babysitter service, related to specialized training courses at the labor offices, should also be licensed, Prof. Tatyana Kotseva suggested.
Assoc. Prof. Stoyanka Cherkezova talks about the problems related to aging, mortality and quality of life in our country. She said the project has been designed to reduce child and premature mortality. In our project, but also in all projects and studies by the UN, Eurostat and the World Bank, the population of Bulgaria is expected to grow older, said Dr. Cherkezov. She said that the share of older people in our population will continue to grow. By 2030-2035, the population between the ages of 40 and 64 is expected to fall sharply, as well as the population aged between 15 and 39, and the population over 65 will continue to grow, "predicts Prof. Stoyanka Cherkezova .
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