Bulgaria’s population has been in decline for decades due to social and economic hardships. It is projected that by 2050, less than 5.5 million people will live in Bulgaria. Although the economic situation is slowly improving, Bulgaria remains one of the poorest countries in the European Union. Approximately 35 % of the population is living in poverty. Almost 80% of Bulgarians identify as Christian, but much of this is part of the Bulgarian cultural identity, not a statement of faith. Less than 2% of Bulgarians are Evangelical Christians.

Country profile: Bulgaria

Total population: almost 7 million
Total children under the age of 18: 1.2 million

Young people, those over the age of 50, and those of Roma backgrounds find it particularly hard to find employment. The official unemployment rate is 6.1 %. Given that Bulgaria has one of the lowest minimum monthly wages in the EU, even those who are working struggle to make ends meet. The high levels of crime and corruption affect all levels of society. According to NGO Transparency International, Bulgaria is the most corrupt state in the EU. Bulgaria has one of the least developed health care systems in Europe, especially in rural areas. This is a troubling feature in a country with some of the poorest health indicators regarding infant mortality and a growing incidence of childhood diseases which include tuberculosis and cancer.

The situation of children in Bulgaria

Bulgaria has the highest child poverty in Europe – over 50 % of children live in poverty or are at risk of poverty. Poverty is the main reason why children are in care. Despite some government initiatives, more must be done to help families so that they can stay together. According to statistics,  approximately 6500 children lived in family-based care in 2019, such as foster or kinship care. At same time around 1000 children were based in larger institutions.

Bulgaria without Orphans:
A Bulgaria Without Orphans movement began in 2017 and was established as a non-profit in 2021. Bulgaria Without Orphans works to create conditions for every child in Bulgaria to grow up in a loving and supportive family, to develop their abilities, and to best realize their potential.

Contact: Bulgaria Without Orphans

Other Information about Orphaned and Vulnerable Children and Family Care in Bulgaria

Better Care Network Information on Family-Based Care in Bulgaria

More information for prayer at Operation World