GDP, current US$ billion
GDP per capita, current US$
Life Expectancy at birth, years (Most recent WDI value 2017)
Bulgaria has undergone a significant transformation over the past three decades. It has changed from a highly centralized, planned economy to an open, market-based, upper-middle-income country securely anchored in the European Union (EU). In its initial transition, Bulgaria went through a decade of slow economic restructuring and growth, high indebtedness, and a loss of savings.
However, the advancement of structural reforms starting in the late 1990s, the introduction of the currency board, and expectations of EU accession unleashed a decade of exceptionally high economic growth and improved living standards.
Yet, a number of legacies from that early period, the global economic crisis of 2008, and a period of political instability in 2013-14 undid some of those gains. In the current period, the ongoing pandemic is most likely to drag the economy into a recession in 2020.
Poverty is projected to increase, given the job losses and rising vulnerabilities associated with the crisis and the possible negative impact of rising minimum wages on employment among the unskilled. The poor are more vulnerable to health shocks because they often have less access to health care and lower savings to protect them from a financial catastrophe. Additionally, they are more likely to suffer from income losses as a result of quarantines and/or disruptions in economic activity.
Bulgaria will need to adopt bold recovery measures to increase productivity by at least 4 percent per year in order to catch up with average EU income levels and boost shared prosperity.
Last Updated: Apr 16, 2020