In 1988, a new administrative division was established, under which the country comprises 9 districts, which in turn are divided into second-order administrative units.
Demographic and social conditions. – The resident population, according to the 1985 census, was 8,948,649 residents with an increase of 8.2% compared to the 1965 census, a consequence of the further decrease in the birth rate (which went from 17.2 ‰ in 1974 to 13.0 ‰ in 1987) and the increase in that of mortality (from 9.8 ‰ to 12.0 ‰). At the same time, the urban population grew further (from 54.7% to 66.4% in the same period), without however changing the traditional demographic balance between relatively small towns: apart from Sofia, which in 1987 concentrated 1,208 in its agglomeration.200 residents, only Plovdiv, Burgas, Pleven, Ruse, Silven, Stara Zagora, Sumen, Tolbuhin and Varna exceeded 100,000 residents.
Economic conditions. – If before 1970 planning was based on strictly sectorial principles, since that date the emphasis has been placed more and more on territorial proportions. The creation of regional planning commissions and the consolidation, with the 8th five-year plan (1981-85), of a form of planning that provided for, alongside the national and sectoral level of the plan, the intervention of regional prognostic bodies.
According to smber, from the point of view of the large sectors of the economy, agriculture was profoundly reorganized starting from 1977: the industrialization of the sector relied on the creation of agro-industrial complexes, which replaced the previous cooperatives and state enterprises to inaugurate a pushed vertical integration of the sector. In the second half of the 1980s, the 296 existing agro-industrial complexes (within which both agricultural production and breeding and the processing and sale of products are carried out) occupied over 85% of the 4,800,000 ha of arable land (600,000 ha concerned individual private plots), while the population employed in the sector had dropped further from 42% in 1970 to 14% in 1986. In the same period, cereals.
Faced with a relatively substantial mining potential (especially coal in the Marica basin and oil along the Black Sea coasts), the development of the economy was significantly slowed by the water and energy crisis, made more acute by the limitations imposed by the USSR in the oil supplies. To cope with the situation, the country has reiterated a massive program of nuclear energy production (in 1985 this source already covered 30% of consumption) which will have to supply 60% of energy needs by 2000. The potential of heavy industry remained virtually unchanged (among which the Lenin steel complex stands out of Pernik and the shipyards of Varna), efforts have been directed, in line with the rural industrialization programs, to direct investments towards small and medium-sized urban centers.
Commerce and communications. – Over the last 15 years, the Bulgarian trade balance has progressively deteriorated with respect to both the other Comecon countries and the Western countries, with which in 1983 it carried out 23.1% of trade. If previously the deficit was covered by the surplus obtained from trade with Third World countries, the growing import of petroleum products has drastically reduced the trade surplus also vis-à-vis the latter.
For the conditions described, the development of communication routes was also modest or even negative: the road network went from 30,784 km in 1972 to 36,908 in 1987, including the motorway section that connects Sofia with Plovdiv, Burgas and Varna. The railway network was downsized from 6127 km in 1972 to 4297 in 1987, of which 2510 with electric traction