Changes in Demography Print
Written by Radostina Manahova   

The series of lifestyle analyses “Market Compass: Bulgarian Lifestyles” studies how changing trends in age, family status, employment and income affect consumer behaviour. Looking at the changing age structure, we expect several interesting developments to redefine the business environment by 2016. The most significant one is a decrease of 26% of the population within age group 20-29 years.

Figure 1
Фигура 1

Source: Eurostat
The Eurostat forecast is based on assumptions that are listed at the end of the analysis.

Currently, several trends influence the age structure in opposite directions. On the one hand, the number of women in fertile age will decrease. Furthermore, due to lifestyle, bearing of the first child is postponed thus affecting negatively the birth rate. On the other hand, since 2001 the number of live born children per woman has risen from 1,24 to 1,48 children in 2008. However, this increase is not sufficient to compensate the negative factors, which result in a net decrease of the population.  Still, shifts in the age structure of the population will occur, and they will influence market behaviour.

Figure 2
Фигура 2

Source: Eurostat

Eurostat forecast a significant change of the age structure in 2016: the share of age group over 65 increases by 3% at the expense of the 20-29 band.

In absolute terms the population of the country will decrease by nearly 425 000 people (5-6% of current population). The largest change will be in the age group 20-29 – 280 000 people (nearly 26% less than current amount). The second largest decrease is in the youngest group (0-19), who will decrease by nearly 160 000 people (11% of current number). Those aged 30-49 will be 27 000 people less (1%) and those 50 to 64 – 85 000 people less (5%). Only the population aged over 65 years will increase – by nearly 130 000 people (10%). Under equal other conditions, all these changes will have the same effect – decrease in the number of consumers.

The most significant change will be in the age group of 20-29. In 2016 they will be nearly a quarter less than now. The task of businesses, targeting this group, will become ever more complicated. Holding other things constant, the consumer potential of this market will shrink by 26%. This change is enormous taking into account that it takes place over the span of only seven years. Adapting to it is the main challenge facing interested businesses.


Eurostat forecast of Bulgaria’s population age structure in 2016 is based on statistical data up to January, 1st 2004 and on the following assumption for the future:

  1. Net migration flow of the country is negative starting from -12 282 for 2003, gradually increasing to -6 347 in 2010 and then again gradually falling to -10 393 in 2016.

  2. Total fertility rate* gradually rises from 1,29 in 2003 to 1,62 in 2016

  3. Life expectancy from birth for men gradually increases from 69,3 years in 2003 to 73,5 years in 2016

  4. Life expectancy from birth for women gradually increases from 76 years in 2003 to 79,6 years in

For comparison, data for 2008 issued by NSI about the indicators listed above is as follows:

  1. Net migration flow is -876 people as to -6 413 in Eurostat forecast.

  2. Total fertility rate is 1,48 children per woman as to 1,44 in Eurostat forecast.

  3. Life expectancy from birth for men is 69,5 years as to 71 in Eurostat forecast.

  4. Life expectancy from birth for women is 76,6 years as to 77,5 in Eurostat forecast.

Assumptions in the forecast underestimated net migration flow and total fertility rate and overestimated life expectancy. Deviations are not significant and assumptions follow the actual trends, so we believe that Eurostat forecast of the country’s population is rather accurate.

* Total fertility rate is the number of live born children per woman.














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