According to data from the last 2011 census Bulgarian families are gradually breaking and the number of loners in this country is growing.
Similar trends have been spotted in other EU member-states and the USA too. The number of American households, consisting of one is 28 percent. In Bulgaria a bit over 30 percent of all households consist of one person only. This means more than 925,000 households, statistics says. Their number increased by over 262,000 for the decade between the 2001 and 2011 censuses. The greatest share of those is registered in the district of Veliko Tarnovo, Central North Bulgaria /over 38 percent/, as well as in the capital city – more than 36 percent. There are many villages in Bulgaria, where only elderly and lonely people live. At the same time the major part of the loners in the big cities have chosen that way of life on their own. The processes of migration towards bigger settlements in a search of a job, the emigration of young people to other countries with better lifestyle, the reduced population due to the increased death rate – these are all prerequisites for such phenomena.
“There are many shades and different ways for interpretation of these numbers,” psychologist Veselka Hristova comments. “They are related to people’s social, political and cultural attitude, along with a global, in my opinion, trend, regarding families of one. The story of such person’s life is important, since different circumstances may have caused this situation. On one hand, this person may feel good and in harmony with him/herself, with a good job etc. On the other, there are many people that feel really lonely and isolated. Of course, the third case is also available – people that live in a relationship and have a family, but are still lonely due to mutual misunderstandings. This is a very tiny difference, but we should pay attention to it too.”
The other aspect is that the feeling of loneliness may get stronger with the age, along with the fear that you might enter the “loner” category – and this is a bit striking, Mrs. Hristova goes on to say.
Some more statistics. The number of households increased by more than 83,000 between both censuses, but the population of this country reduced by a bit over 564,000 people. This comes to show that the process of breaking of Bulgarian families continues. For a first time in the history of this country’s statistics the number of households with a single member is bigger than the one of families of two. The number of families with three or four members is going down too.
There are some other striking statistical facts. The share of families without children up to 16 years old continued to grow between the two censuses. In 2011 those were 75.5 percent of Bulgarian families. This is a fact that means demographic upheavals for this country – aging of the nation, problems on the labor market due to the decreasing number of young people etc. There were 18.5 percent of people, aged over 65 in 2011, statistics says. At the same time children under 15 are barely 13.2 percent of this country’s population of 7.5 million. The greatest share of children at that age can be found in Sliven District, where plenty of Roma people live.
Written by: Milka Dimitrova
English version: Zhivko Stanchev