chapter  6
21 Pages

A Quest for Belonging: The Bulgarian Demographic Crisis, Emigration and the Postsocialist Generations

WithMaria Stoilkova

This chapter explains about the Bulgarian demographic crisis, emigration and the postsocialist generations. It describes low fertility rates in Bulgaria during the 1990s to argue that shifts in demographic patterns should not be regarded independent of cultural struggles accompanying rapid socio-economic changes. Bulgaria has recently been described as having experienced a demographic crisis unparalleled among other Eastern European countries. It has one of the lowest birthrates in the world, a high mortality rate among infants and elderly people, and an unprecedented degree of emigration of young people between the ages of 20 to 40. The opportunities reflect changing ideas of femininity and reproduction, which are linked to new strategies of social upward mobility. Decisions about marriage, family and children figure prominently in women’s chances for social advancement. The demographic “crisis” in Bulgaria represents a cultural adjustment to unstable social and economic environment, involving new definitions of gender and social identities and new understandings of what it is to be “modern”.