Until no more than three or four years ago, Bulgaria was next to Russia, Belarus and Ukraine at the top of the gloomy list of countries whose rural areas were rapidly losing population. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) predicted that by 2050 the population of Bulgarian villages would shrink from 1.8 million to 800,000 and the proportion of the country’s rural population would decrease from 26 to 14 percent. Fortunately, this chilling tendency was abruptly broken by the emergence of the pandemic, which led many people to seek solitude in small towns and villages.
Official data shows that almost 90,000 people lived in villages in the past year alone. The reasons why more and more Bulgarians are choosing to live in the village are the clean air, the tranquility, the natural and healthy diet, the lack of restrictions and safety. Financially, and especially now that electricity prices are skyrocketing, the simple life in a village looks all the more attractive. Life in a village is cheaper – there is no need to pay for public transport, expensive clothing, bars and restaurants. Keeping fit doesn’t cost anything, because physical activity is part of life in the country.
According to the Association of Bulgarian Villages, people will continue to leave cities for villages for the next five years, with 50,000-60,000 people moving to rural areas each year.
“These are people of working age”, says the chairman of the association Borislav Borisov in an interview for Bulgaria ON AIR TV:
“What people are looking for here is to restart their lives,” he says, adding: “Over 90% of Bulgarian villages have fast internet and that means working remotely. Many of the people who move to the villages are of working age and have a high level of education. “
And this “migration” concerns the improvement of the infrastructure, the development of projects and the promotion of tourism in rural areas. New communities are emerging that organize various initiatives, cultural and sporting events.
The migration from the big cities inevitably affects the real estate market as well. Demand is increasing, so are prices. Until 2-3 years ago village houses cost 10,000-15,000 euros, now the price has reached 35,000 euros, or the cost of an apartment in one of the smaller towns in Bulgaria./BNR