Papers of BAS. Humanities and Social Sciences

Vol. 5, 2018, No. 2

How was Bulgaria urbanizing in the War

and Interwar periods (1912-1938):

The evidence of historical census statistics

Penka Peykovska

Abstract. Urbanization theorists see the process as a manifestation of three mutually impacting processes: migration, natural growth and reclassification, whose relative contribution to it varies depending on the environment. The present paper is devoted to the urbanization process in Bulgaria in the War and Interwar periods. In particular, we monitor the role that migration played in it as well as the contribution of small and big cities and the capital of Sofia. Even in our time, a small number of countries are collecting statistics that are appropriate for a thorough measurement of urban phenomena. For this reason, our quantitative analysis is based on the data of urban population’s birthplace from the censuses carried out in Bulgaria in 1910, 1920, 1926 and 1934. It shows that in the studied period the ascending (albeit at a slow pace) urbanization process in Bulgaria was due mainly to migration and in particular to internal migration, although it was undoubtedly closely related to the war- and post-wartime refugee wave and immigration, which strengthened the expansion of cities.

Keywords: urbanization, Bulgaria, Balkan Wars, First World War, Interwar period