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Population: 7.1 million

Population Below Poverty: 21.8%

Literacy Rate: 98.2%

Language: Bulgarian (official language), Turkish, Roma

Religion: 83% Bulgarian Orthodox; 12% Muslim; 5% Other


Bulgaria, a country slightly larger than the state of Tennessee, is primarily mountainous and has a climate similar to that of the Midwest region of the United States. Most of the population lives in the urban areas, which contributes to a high level of organized crime and corruption. Education is important to Bulgarians, but is disadvantaged due to financial issues as well as the lack of modern equipment. Socialist rule ended in 1997, but the transition to democracy has not been an easy one. With more freedom after years of restriction, there is a growing interest in religion, especially among youth. Nearly 70% of the people consider themselves Christian Orthodox, but there is also a strong Muslim influence.

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