SOFIA, Bulgaria: Bulgaria's population has declined by 11.5 percent in the past decade, according to the 2021 census.
The National Statistical Institute reports that Bulgaria's population fell by 844,000 people, from some 7.3 million in 2011, to its current 6.5 million.
Officials said the declining population was due to low birth rates, high mortality, and a constant flow of Bulgarians heading to the West in search of better job prospects, as well as educational opportunities.
"This is the most drastic decrease registered so far," Magdalena Kostova from the statistical institute, told reporters. "The aging of the population is another lasting trend."
The United Nations has been monitoring Bulgaria for some years due to its declining population, which is among the fastest shrinking in the world.
Since Bulgaria left communism behind in 1990, its population has decreased by nearly 25 percent, from almost 9 million to 6.5 million.
The U.N. has stated that if Bulgaria's population continues to fall, it could drop to 5.4 million people by 2050.