GDP, current US$ billion
GDP per capita, current US$
Gini Coefficient (2012)
Life Expectancy at birth, years (2014)
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 economy securely anchored in the European Union (EU). In its initial transition, the country 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 the expectation of EU accession unleashed a decade of exceptionally high economic growth and improved living standards.
Yet, some legacies from that early phase, the global economic crisis of 2008, and a period of political instability in 2013–14 undid some of those gains. Now, in its pursuit of boosting growth and shared prosperity, Bulgaria is moving to address these issues.
Today Bulgaria faces the two inter-related challenges of raising productivity and addressing the country’s rapid demographic change. Higher productivity growth is critical to accelerating convergence, as Bulgaria’s income per capita is only 47% of the EU average, the lowest in the EU.
Productivity will need to grow by at least 4% per year over the next 25 years if Bulgaria is to catch up with average EU income levels and boost shared prosperity.
Last Updated: Apr 17, 2018