Population decline and (re)distributioin Bulgaria
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This thesis investigates migration from and within Bulgaria as a major mechanism of population decline and population redistribution. Starting from a system migration approach, it describes the shifts in migration that occurred after the collapse of the Communist regime in 1989. Analyses over the last two decades show that Bulgaria suffered major population loss due to migration. Only part of this loss is captured by official migration statistics. The census shows that unregistered migration accounts for most of the decline. The regional patterns show wide differences in both population loss and migration balance between planning regions. As a consequence, the central urban region of Sofia has become more populous while the peripheral North-East region has suffered substantial population loss. The pattern of internal migration corresponds to Fielding‟s theory of the escalator region. People move from peripheral regions to the urban core area of the country, leading to further decline in the periphery and modest decline to modest growth in the urban core. The same phenomenon appears within the regions at the district level, with people migrating from villages to central cities and in the case of Bulgaria - mainly towards the capital Sofia. These processes are bound to result in a loss of human capital, raising the question whether this „brain drain‟ is a temporary or more a structural phenomenon. Analysis of a survey among university students and graduates in Bulgaria reveals the motivations behind the migrations flows of the higher educated. The migration history and intentions show that the economic factors are the major drivers of their migration behaviour. A lack of educational and employment opportunities in their home towns drives young people to the capital and abroad. However, the survey also reveals that the family and other social ties play an important role, in particular in the consideration of future return migration.