Poverty in Bulgaria has greatly impacted the culture. According to a EuroStat survey of EU satisfaction rates, Bulgaria is the least happy country in the European Union. After joining the EU in 2007, Bulgarians were hopeful that conditions would improve.
On the contrary, unemployment rates remained high and Bulgaria continued to be the poorest country in the Union. While the poverty rate in Bulgaria has not gone down as Bulgarians hoped it would, the economy is slowly and steadily improving.
Top Facts about the Poverty Rate in Bulgaria:
- Bulgarians have been living in poverty since the fall of the communist regime in November 1990. EuroStat found that, in 2017, 2.5 million Bulgarians (35 percent of the population) are living in poverty.
- More than a third of the European Union poverty resides in Bulgaria, Romania and Greece combined. The average pension in Bulgaria is 165 euros per month–less than $200.
- Of the Bulgarian population, 34.2 percent is severely deprived, meaning that they cannot pay their bills, heat their homes or afford an annual vacation. The unemployment rate is 10.8 percent. The average in the European Union is 9.8 percent.
- According to a survey by the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce, around 244 Bulgarian companies increased their number of employees in 2016. The National Statistical Institute showed that, from March to June 2017, the number of employees under contract increased by 2.8 percent.
- Due to decades of poverty in Bulgaria, the availability of qualified workers is severely lacking. This is both due to the inability to properly educate youth and the emigration of young people to more developed countries.
Although the poverty rate in Bulgaria is still high, the country is slowly improving and growing its economy. The year 2017 has shown some stagnation in growth, but the progress in 2016 indicates that more growth is on the way. Incomes are rising and, as this happens, happiness is also rising as people have more money to invest in contentment.
– Madeline Boeding