Bulgaria: Lowest Life Expectancy in Europe!

Society | May 29, 2024, Wednesday // 16:18
Bulgaria: Bulgaria: Lowest Life Expectancy in Europe! Photo: Stella Ivanova

Life expectancy in Bulgaria has increased by a year and a half, according to the latest data from the National Institute of Statistics. This study compares the period 2021-2023 to 2020-2022. However, compared to ten years ago, there is a decline in average life expectancy for both women and men. City dwellers live more than three years longer than those in villages.

Magdalena Kostova, director of the Demographic and Social Statistics Directorate at NSI, commented, "Life expectancy is slowly increasing, but we are still last in Europe for life expectancy and first in terms of mortality. This should signal that something is wrong."

Until 2020, life expectancy was rising, but the onset of COVID-19 in 2019 led to a significant increase in mortality, causing life expectancy to drop. In 2023, mortality rates returned to previous levels, slightly increasing life expectancy. Nevertheless, Bulgaria's high mortality rate, the highest in the EU, slows this process.

Kostova noted higher mortality in men, with nearly double the rate of premature deaths before age 65. For men, this rate is almost 30%.

Urban residents have a life expectancy more than three years higher than rural inhabitants. Factors contributing to this include healthcare, quality of life, food, air, and education. The highest life expectancy is in Sofia, while the lowest is in Vidin, Vratsa, and Montana.

One in five Bulgarians lives in the capital, with Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, and Burgas being key attraction centers. Employment, education, and better living conditions drive internal migration.

Kostova mentioned that the birth rate is at the European average level, with the total fertility rate being higher than the European average, meaning fewer women are having more children. The ideal family model in Bulgaria is two children, but many end up with only one due to various reasons.

The return flow of Bulgarians from abroad has increased but is insufficient to counterbalance the declining active population. Kostova emphasized the need for policies based on data, predicting that the population could fall below six million by 2035 and below five million by 2075 if current demographic trends continue.

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Tags: life expectancy, Bulgaria, population, demographic

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