Sofia City Review


About This Report

Nov 2017

Generating a total GDP of USD20.8 billion in 2016 (40% of Bulgaria's total), Sofia stands as Bulgaria's largest economic centre. However, despite the capital's dynamic outsourcing industry (Sofia allocates 85% of all outsourced workers in Bulgaria, servicing such companies as AIG, IBM and Cisco), Sofia fares poorly compared to other EU capitals in terms of wealth. In 2016, Sofia's GDP per capita of USD15,600 stood 37%, 33% and 12% below that of Warsaw, Bucharest and Zagreb, respectively.

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Sofia City Review


Boasting some of the lowest corporate taxes in the EU, the Bulgarian capital also offers a very largely educated labour pool - 40% of the city's population possessed a higher level education degree in 2016. With such a positive business environment, the city attracts numerous large global companies (HP, UniCredit and BnP Paribas) and boasts labour productivity levels 133% higher than in the rest of the country in 2016.

Best paid sectors have a significant focus in Sofia

With the best paid sectors greatly focusing in Sofia, rather than in other parts of Bulgaria (22% of all workers in Sofia were employed in the business services sector versus 6% in the rest of the country, in 2016), Sofia households' average annual income reached USD13,200, 47% higher than in the rest of the country in 2016. However, the income did decrease by 8.7% in constant terms, over 2011-2016.

Greater discretionary spending on recreation/ culture, hotels/restaurants and alcoholic beverages

As of 2016, consumer expenditure (transport and housing excluded) per household was 38% higher in Sofia than elsewhere in the country. Recreation/ culture, hotels/restaurants and alcoholic beverages were among the largest discretionary spending categories in Sofia, allocating 9.6%, 7.4% and 6.8%, respectively, of the total expenditure in 2016.

High motorisation rates increase transport expenses

In 2016, the combined consumer expenditure on transport and housing per household was 44% higher in Sofia than in the rest of Bulgaria. Transport was the main driver of the discrepancy (separately, transport expenses in Sofia are 81% higher than in the rest of Bulgaria in 2016) due to very high motorisation rates in the capital.

Sofia City Review


Understanding Sofia Review structure
Chart 1 Overview
Key facts on Sofia
Summary 1 Key Facts On Sofia 2011, 2016, 2021


Delimitation of the metropolitan region
Chart 2 Map Of Sofia Metropolitan Area
Main business districts


Industrial make-up
Chart 3 Industrial Composition Of Sofia 2016
Chart 4 Labour Productivity: Selected Cities 2016
Recent developments and outlook
Chart 5 Dynamics Of Real GDP In Sofia, Bulgaria And Other Cities In Eastern Europe, 2011-2021
Summary 2 Labour Market Changes In Sofia 2011, 2016


City demographics
Chart 6 Population By Age 2016
Chart 7 Drivers Of Population Growth In Sofia 2011-2016
Household income
Chart 8 Household Distribution By Income In Sofia 2016 And 2021


Structure of household budget
Chart 9 Comparison Of Household Expenditure In Sofia And Bulgaria, 2016
Summary 3 Sofia Household Budget Structure By Consumer Expenditure Item, % of total, 2011, 2016, 2021
City lifestyle
Sofia - One Of The Top Growing Tourism Destinations In Europe
5,000 Motorcycles Roar Through The Streets Of Sofia
City affordability
Chart 10 Household Expenditure On Housing: Selected Cities 2016
Chart 11 Household Expenditure On Transport: Selected Cities 2016



Summary 4 GDP Development, 2011, 2016, 2021
Summary 5 GDP By Origin, Current Prices, US$, Million, 2011-2016
Summary 6 Population And Labour Force, 2011-2016
Summary 7 Employed Population By Economic Sector, % of total, 2011-2016
Summary 8 Population By Sex And Broad Age Groups, ‘000, 2011-2016
Summary 9 Population Growth, 2011-2016
Summary 10 Forecast Population Growth
Summary 11 Population By Educational Attainment, 2011-2016
Summary 12 Structure Of Consumer Expenditure By Main Category, 2011-2016
Summary 13 Consumer Expenditure By Main Category, Per Household, Constant (2016) Prices, US$, 2011, 2016, 2021
Summary 14 Households By Income Band, % Of Total, Constant (2016) Prices 2011, 2016, 2021
Summary 15 Households By Income Band, ‘000, Current Prices 2011-2016
Summary 16 Inflation, 2011-2016
Summary 17 Transport Indicators, 2011-2016
Summary 18 Air Pollution, Concentration In Micrograms Per Cubic Metre, 2011-2016
Summary 19 Possession of Consumer Durables, % of Households, 2011, 2016, 2021