The population (8,336,000 in 1998, according to a UN estimate), a slight decrease in the last decade of the 20th century, due to the constantly low birth rate (8.1 ‰ in 1995) and a significant emigration, it is relatively homogeneous, as Bulgarians are in a strong majority (86 % of the total); the main minority is the traditional one of the Turks (9 %) and there are also many gypsies (4 %). From the religious point of view, to the strong majority of Orthodox Christian faith, recognized by the new Constitution (1991) “traditional religion in Bulgaria”, is joined by a not negligible Muslim minority (13.1 %).
The capital Sofia, with more than 1, 4 million residents in the metropolitan area, is growing (also for choosing the early Western investment) and dominates the settlement network in the country, which in Plovdiv, Varna and Burgas (from 200 000 to 350. 000 residents each) his secondary poles.
According to topschoolsintheusa, the Bulgarian economy includes an agricultural sector that offers a fair variety of products, and which at the end of the millennium absorbs about a quarter of the active population. Land privatization has been underway since the early 1990s quite decisively, and private agriculture today provides sizeable and growing shares of many commodities. Conspicuous cereal productions are both that of wheat and that of maize and barley, which are associated with potatoes and beans, as well as rice, obtained from irrigated crops in the Maritsa valley. Among the industrial crops, sunflower and especially tobacco stand out – of which Bulgaria is, together with Greece and Italy, one of the major European producers – in addition to that, very typical in the upper Tundža valley, of the essence rose (valid source of exports to
The driest and most inaccessible lands are occupied by poor pastures, used for the breeding of a good number of sheep; another notable breeding is that of pigs. Most of the mountain areas, however, is occupied by woods (more than a third of the national territory), with good wood production.
Lignite, extracted in fair quantities, and iron to a lesser extent represent the main mineral resources of the country; on these modest foundations, Bulgarian heavy industry had been built, strictly following the Soviet model. For the production of energy one relies essentially (also due to the presence in the country of uranium) on the large nuclear power plant of Kozloduj near the Danube, whose old Soviet reactors have recently been brought to acceptable safety levels; a more modern power plant was built in Belene (again on the Danube, further downstream), moreover among the protests of the population now aware of the risks associated with nuclear power.
Steel, mechanical and chemical industries, alongside the traditional textile and tobacco processing sectors, are still the dominant industrial activities, particularly developed in the capital region (shipbuilding in Varna, on the Black Sea); but in recent years advanced productions, such as electronic ones, have also established themselves. Privatization in the industry has slowly started and under the strict control of the state, in 1995 – 96, hampered by conflicting economic signals that are still occurring in the country, and in 1998 had only affected 17 % of the sector.
Bulgaria has signed an important ‘association’ agreement with the European Union – but the prospects of its admission to it as an effective member are still far off – and on the other hand it has joined a ‘cooperation area of the Black Sea ‘with Romania, Moldova and Ukraine (1992).