Bulgaria comprises a geographical area slightly larger than the state of Tennessee. It is sandwiched between Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Turkey, Serbia, and the Black Sea. The cold, damp winters stand in stark contrast to the hot, dry summers. The lowest elevation is sea level at the Black Sea, rising to 9,500’ at Musala. The terrain is mostly mountainous with lowlands in the north and southeast.
The population of Bulgaria is just over 7 million people, with over 25% under 24 years old. Almost 33% of the population is over 55 years old. The median age is 42 years old. The population is shrinking at -0.796% due largely to the low birth rate of 9.2 births per 1,000 population, the high mortality rate of 14.32 per 1,000 population, and the net migration of -2.84 per 1,000 population. 71% of the population lives in urban areas.
Bulgarian Living Conditions
- Medical care is within reach of Bulgarians living in urban areas, There are 3.6 doctors for every 1,000 people (versus the U.S. with 2.3 doctors for every 1,000 people).
- 100% of the urban and rural population lives with improved sanitation facilities.
- Risk of disease from waterborne and vectorborne sources is low.
- Literacy is high with 98.4 % of the population over 15 year old being able to read and write. The average time spent in school is 14 years.
- The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is $14,200 per capita, but income is highly skewed. The top 10% of earners account for 35.2% of consumption, while the bottom 10% account for only 2.0% of consumption.
- 21.8% of the population lives below the poverty line.
- 16.1% of the under 24 year old population is unemployed, while unemployment for the population as a whole averages 9.9%.
- The annual inflation rate is 2.4%.
Guidelines has been involved in ministry in Bulgaria since 2001. Guidelines Missionary Associates “Ben & Sveta” work with a largely Muslim population in a very difficult environment. Their ministries include an English Club, strawberry farm and friendships with their neighbors.