22.6 % of Bulgarians have a monthly income below the poverty line

In 2019, the average monthly poverty line for Bulgaria is 413.04 BGN average per person. The number of persons who are below this line is 1.586.200 representing 22.6 % of the population, Money Buzz! learned from the latest data published by the National Statistic Institute of Bulgaria.

Compared to the previous year, the poverty line increased by 17.6% and the relative share of the poor population increased by 0.6 percentage points.

The social protection system contributes considerably to the poverty decrease. According to 2019 data, if the income from pensions is included into the household’s income and the rest social transfers are excluded, the
poverty level increases from 22.6% to 29.6%, or by 7.0 percentage points.

And respectively, if the pensions and the rest of the social transfers are excluded, the poverty level increases up to 42.2%, or by 19.6 percentage
points.

The main factor influencing the risk of poverty for the prevailing part of the population is the economic activity and participation in the labour market.

For the observed period, the share of poor is highest among the unemployed (58.9%) and the risk of poverty for unemployed male is 14.2 percentage points higher than for unemployed female.

Educational level influences the risk of poverty

Educational level influences considerably the risk of poverty for employed. Highest is the share of working poor with primary and without education – 55.5%.

The increase of educational level decreases the share of poor among employed with primary education about 2 times and more than 7 times for those with secondary education. The share of working poor with tertiary education is 2.5%.

Poverty is more present in some specific households

Poverty estimates by type of household show that poverty is concentrated among elderly single-person households older than 65 years, single parents with children and households with three or more children.

Compared to the previous year, in 2019 highest is the decrease of the risk of poverty among households of two adults with three or more dependent children – a decrease of 4.6 percentage points.

Share of poor is lowest among households with two adults with one child (10.7%) and two adults aged below 65 years (13.5%).

Among single-person households the risk of poverty is 14.5 percentage points higher for female than for male.

Moreover, the risk of poverty among single-person households varies according to the household member age – it is 31.0 percentage points higher for persons aged 65 and over than for those aged below 65 years.

Poverty at regional level

Lowest poverty threshold in 2019 is observed in districts Montana and Pazardzhik – 268 and 292 BGN respectively, and the highest – in district Sofia (stolitsa) – 589 BGN, followed by districts Pernik (475 BGN) and Stara Zagora (459 BGN).

Highest share of people at-risk-of-poverty is observed in districts Sliven – 30.1%, Kyustendil – 28.8%, Vratsa 27.7%, and Yambol – 27.4%.

Lowest is the share of people at-risk-of-poverty in districts Pleven – 14.3%,
Blagoevgrad – 16.5%, Sofia – 16.8%, and Lovech – 18.5%.

The poverty threshold in 2019 increased compared to 2018 in the all districts. The highest growth was recorded in the districts of Razgrad (by 37.2%), Vratsa (by 34.9%), Lovech (34.7%), Pernik (by 34.6%), Smolyan and Silistra by 33.4% each.

The lowest increases were observed in the districts of Yambol (by 1.6%), Pleven (by 5.8%), Plovdiv (by 6.6%), and Haskovo (by 8.8%).

The lowest share of poor for male – 11.8%, is observed in district Pleven, while the highest one – in district Silistra – 28.8%. Lowest is the at-risk-of-poverty rate for female in district Blagoevgrad – 15.6%, compared to highest in district Kyustendil and Sliven – 31.6%.

In districts Gabrovo, Ruse, Smolyan, Yambol, Sofia, Haskovo, Kyustendil and Varna the share of female atrisk-of-poverty is more than 5 p.p. higher than of male.

In 8 districts – Montana, Vratsa, Veliko Tarnovo, Vidin, Kardzhali, Blagoevgrad, Pazardzhik and Silistra the share of poor male is higher than the share of poor female.

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