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Country Context



Population, million


GDP, current US$ billion


GDP per capita, current US$


Life Expectancy at birth, years 71.5*

*Most recent WDI value (2021) 

Bulgaria has undergone a significant transformation over the past three decades. It has moved from a highly centralized, planned economy to an open, market-based, upper-middle-income economy securely anchored in the European Union (EU). 

Bulgaria’s EU accession in 2007 raised expectations that living standards would rapidly rise and match average EU levels in a relatively short time span. By 2022, convergence reached 62% of the average GDP per capita in the EU in purchasing power parity terms but the country remains the poorest EU member state. Following a series of external crises—including the global financial crisis, the European debt crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine—foreign investment inflows dried up and reform progress slowed, dampening the pace of convergence toward average EU incomes.

To reach average EU income levels in the next 15 years, ambitious reforms and policies would be required to spur economic growth. These include addressing institutional and governance weaknesses, ensuring fair competition to boost firms’ efficiency and private sector expansion, along with investing in skills. In parallel, persistent inequalities, including income inequality and inequalities of opportunities would need to be addressed. 

Last Updated: Apr 10, 2024


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