Papers of BAS Humanities and Social Sciences
Vol. 4, 2017, No 2

RURAL DEPOPULATION AND THE CHANGING SCOPE OF THE RURAL SETTLEMENT NETWORK IN BULGARIA IN 1946-2011

Nickolay Tsekov

Abstract. Over the last seven decades, the accelerated depopulation of rural areas in Bulgaria has had a strongly negative impact on the scope and condition of the rural settlement network. The partial and total depopulation of more than 90 % of the villages in the country is extremely detrimental to the development of rural areas in Bulgaria. This article addresses the link between depopulation and the collapse of the rural settle- ment network. In tracking the dynamics in the number of rural settlements, divided into six categories, a number of regularities have been revealed, which determine the link between the decrease of the number of rural inhabitants in settlements and by settlement categories, and the reduction of the number of rural settlements in Bulgaria during the period 1946-2011.

Keywords: “authentic” rural dеpopulation, “authentic” rural settlement network, settlement categories, distribution of settlements by size, shrinkage of the rural settle- ment network