SOFIA, Bulgaria 

Bulgarian officials on Thursday voiced concern over the country’s declining population, which fell by 11.5% over the past decade, according to local media.

Speaking at a parliamentary commission on Bulgarian expatriates, national statistics institute head Sergei Tzvetarski remarked that the country’s population decreased over 840,000 people in the last ten years.

While 53% of this fall was caused by the number of births being below deaths, migration accounted for the remaining 47%, said Tzvetarski.

He noted that roughly 950,000 Bulgarian nationals had emigrated since 2007, when it joined the EU, to various Western European countries, including Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Italy.

Economist Petar Ganev said that a record of over 147,000 people lost their lives in Bulgaria last year, adding that before the COVID-19 pandemic, this figure had been roughly 107,000.

Pointing out that the coronavirus was not the only factor in the rise in deaths, Ganev said that in European countries, the figure varied according to the course of the pandemic.

“However, other countries were able to control this factor. We could not. Currently, the number of vaccinated citizens is around 2 million. They only make up 30% of the population,” he added.​​​​​​​

* Written and contributed by Ahmet Gencturk in Ankara

Copyright 2022 Anadolu Agency. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.