The depopulation of the Bulgarian villages.
Bulgaria, demographic processes, demographic transition, demographic crisis, depopulation, village
The depopulation process in Bulgaria, especially in rural areas, is intensifying due to deepening unfavourable trends in the dynamics of demographic processes. Depopulation is a typical process in the fourth phase of demographic transition in rural areas of Bulgaria. The death rates exceed birth rates in the rural areas in the mid-1970s. The size of rural population and the number of villages in the country has been decreasing in the last decades. A large part of the villages were affected by depopulation processes during the period 1985?2007. A high depopulation level is observed in border and mountainous regions. The depopulation generates an array of different negative trends in the spatial aspect - in socio-economic development, technical and social infrastructure, as well as the erasure of many small villages. The regional development plans need to embed measures for infrastructural development in order to attract and retain residents, utilise natural and cultural-historical heritage, and to stimulate economic activities and the development of various types of tourism, etc.