With the referendum of May 16, 1971, the electoral body approved the new constitution, which entrusts legislative power to a National Assembly of 400 members, elected on the lists of the Patriotic Front, an organization led by the Communist Party. The Assembly, which appoints and dismisses the government, elects from among its members the Council of State (currently 23 members), which exercises its functions in the interval between sessions and whose president is also Head of State. It is still in force the administrative division adopted in 1959 (28 districts, one city to the capital, in turn divided into districts and urban and rural communities; v. Tab. 1).
Demographic and social conditions. – The last population census was carried out in 1965 and revealed a resident population of 8,227,866 residents, an increase of 8.1% compared to the previous census of 1956. In 1974 the residents were estimated to be 8,642,600, with a density of 78 per km 2. The annual rate of increase is slowly decreasing and is now positioned at the European average values, due to a settling of the economic and social conditions. The birth rate decreased from 20.1 ‰ in 1955 to 17.2 ‰ in 1974, while the mortality rate rose in the same period from 9.1 to 9.8 ‰, so that the natural increase coefficient decreased from 11.0 ‰ to 7.4 ‰.
In the last 15 years, the flow from the countryside to the cities has continued, which now host over half of the population (54.7% in 1971). Sofia with its urban agglomeration has become a millionaire city (1,035,480 residents in 1972) and other 4 cities have over 100,000 residents. Between the censuses of 1956 and 1965 Sofia went from 725,756 to 801,111 residents (+ 10.4%), Plovdiv from 162,518 to 222,508 residents (+ 36.9%), confirming itself in 2nd place in the urban network of the country, Varna from 119,769 to 180,110 residents (+ 50.4%), thanks to the development of port and industrial functions, Ruse from 83,472 to 128,888 residents (+ 54.4%) and Burgas from 72,795 to 106,115 residents (+ 45.8%).
The standard of living is rapidly approaching that of Western Europe: the infant mortality rate fell from 82.4 ‰ in 1955 to 25.4 in 1974, the average length of life reached 71 years in 1967.
Compulsory education has been raised to the 15th grade and illiteracy has practically disappeared among the youth classes. Healthcare facilities are based on 198 main hospitals with one hospital bed for every 127 residents (1971) and one doctor for every 535 residents (1970). The diffusion of telecommunication means is now close to that of Western countries (in 1972: 1 radio set for every 3.7 residents, 1 television set for every 6.6 residents, a telephone for every 14.7 residents). The motorization index, on the other hand, is still low (1 car for every 46 residents in 1972).
Commerce and communications. – Between 1950 and 1970, foreign trade increased in value by as many as 16 times and involved as many as 112 countries. Since 1969, the trade balance shows a surplus. The exchanges take place mostly with the COMECON countries (76.6% in 1972) and in particular with the Soviet Union (54.3%), from which supplies of steel, oil (oil pipeline from Shabla, on the Black Sea , in Pleven, where there is a large refinery), natural gas, electricity; the German Dem. Rep. (8.7%), Czechoslovakia (5.5%), Poland (4.2%), Hungary (2.2%) and Romania (1.9%) follow in importance. %). In the MEC area there are exchanges with the Federal Republic of Germany (2.9%), Italy (2.7%), Switzerland (1.3%), the United Kingdom (1.2 %) and Austria (1.1%). Relations with Yugoslavia are also very active (1,
In the export sector, raw materials are decreasing, while capital and consumer goods are increasing; in the import sector, on the other hand, fuels and raw materials are on the rise and capital and consumer goods (including food products) are decreasing. For Bulgaria 2013, please check physicscat.com.
The communication routes and means of transport are constantly improving. The road network increased from 26,796 km in 1961 to 30,784 km in 1972 and the car fleet from 41,300 cars in 1961 (of which 9,300 cars) to 235,620 in 1973 (of which 195,000 cars). A motorway network of approximately 1000 km is under construction based on 3 routes: Sofia-Pleven-Varna (Hemus motorway), Sofia-Plovdiv-Burgas (A. Trakija) and Burgas-Varna (A. Černo More). The railway network was also considerably strengthened and modernized, going from 5760 km in 1961 to 6127 km in 1972, of which 1016 with electric traction.
The merchant navy, practically non-existent until 1950, could count in 1974 on 166 ships for 864.939 grt, 25% belonging to tankers. In the maritime ports of Varna and Burgas, the commercial movement reached 17 million tons in 1972 (2.3 at disembarkation and 14.7 at embarkation). Traffic on the Danube on which a river fleet of 227,000 GRT operates (1971) is also very active. Air traffic is carried out by the airports of Sofia, Varna, Burgas, Ruse and Plovdiv (and other minor ones). The national airline Balkan manages the internal lines and some international services that connect the Bulgaria to the main centers of Eastern and Western Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.
During the period under consideration, the international tourist movement also had a great increase, allowing Bulgaria to take in foreign currencies. The number of arrivals rose from 1,752,214 in 1967 to 3,006,991 in 1972, led by the Turks (31.2% of the total, mostly emigrants in transit for Western Europe), followed by Yugoslavs (13, 8%), Czechoslovakians (12.5%), Soviets (6.9%), East Germans (5.7%) and Westerners (5.4%), Poles (4.9%), Romanians (3.6 %) and of other nationalities.