Since the beginning of the change in Bulgaria in 1989, our country was left by almost 2 million people.

According to Eurostat rules, a population and housing census will be held in 2021 in each EU Member State. As the answer to the question of nationality of each number is mandatory, it is one of the chances of researching how many Bulgarians live abroad.

Data is often contradictory and is used for various speculation and political causes. What is undeniable, however, is that our country has long lost its attractiveness for a huge number of Bulgarians who prefer or are forced to search for professional realization in foreign countries.

When talking about Bulgarians abroad, there are different numbers thrown in the public space which are rarely based on official data. For example, foreign statistics show that for the last 30 years, Bulgarian residents are about 1.1 million. However, this is just about people who are Bulgarians of nationality, statistic that automatically excludes the descendants of people who have emigrated decades ago.

Moreover, these figures are only for the EU. The results of census in countries from other continents rarely reach Bulgaria, making it very difficult to calculate Bulgarians in the United States for example.

According to the National Statistical Institute, 52 percent of the country’s decline in the post-1989 population was due to the negative natural growth and the other 48 percent are from emigration. The net migration rate is the difference between the number of immigrants (people coming into an area) and the number of emigrants (people leaving an area) throughout the year. According to the latest annual report for 2017 issued by NSI, the number of people who left Bulgaria in this year was 35,000 people, while the number of those returning was 25 000 people; i.e. net emigration was only 10,000 people. The claims of many experts that it will soon come to a moment when it will become zero, however, seem to be unrealistic.

The demographic crisis covers the whole of Eastern Europe, but most countries are already experiencing positive changes. A well-governed Estonia, which, after the release from the Soviet management, has lost 17 percent of its population, has recently enjoyed a small net flow in the opposite direction. Poland, which has adopted hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians to serve its thriving economy, is also an alternative model.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Bulgaria is the European country, characterised by the highest demographic dynamism – a birth rate of 28 per 1,000 people, allowing it relatively quickly to overcome the two national catastrophes after the Second Balkan War and the First World War. Recent UN surveys show that the country’s population by 2050 will fall to only 5.2 million people or lower than it was in 1926.