Most funds are allocated from the state budget for education, and the least for health care. The state fails to ensure an equal start for all children
National Network for Children presented an analysis of the financial investments of the Bulgarian state in children in the fields of health, education and social support.
The study was presented with a discussion studio on TV1 “How much does a child cost in Bulgaria?” with the participation of experts from major political parties.
The analysis, which so far refers to the period 2017-2020, was commissioned by the National Network for Children on the basis of a specially created tool developed by the Institute for Market Economics. The data will be updated every year with new information on the planned and actual investments in the three main areas – healthcare, education and social activities in the budget of Bulgaria. This is the first of its kind in Bulgaria investment analysis tool and can be used to assess and track financial investments in children’s policies.
The event was attended by leading economists and experts from major political parties, candidates for MPs in the 47th National Assembly.
MAIN CONCLUSIONS FROM THE ANALYSIS
Investing in children is an investment in human capital that brings a return over time in the form of short-term and long-term results for children and families, the economy and society as a whole.
Without a quantitative assessment of investment in a child, it is not possible to conclude how effective children’s policies are.
Currently in Bulgaria there is no summary item for all expenditures for children in the state budget, which makes the assessment of the investment impossible without additional analytical work.
What funds does the state allocate annually for policies aimed at children and families?
If funds were allocated equally for each child, in 2017 this would be BGN 3,344 per year per child, which is equal to 3.95% of GDP, or 7.60% of all public expenditures. In 2021, this would be BGN 4,718 per child, which is equal to 4.7% of the projected GDP and 11.7% of the expected total public expenditures.
The total budget for children and families for 2017 amounts to almost BGN 4 billion. In 2021, the total amount of expenditures set in the budget exceeds BGN 6.7 billion.
Between 2017 and 2020, spending on children and families increased their share of GDP from 4.1% to 4.7%. The growth is entirely due to an increase in funding for education, with money earmarked for healthcare even reducing its share of GDP by 0.1 percentage point.
Although they increased in absolute terms, spending on children and families decreased their share of the total state budget in 2018 and 2019, before increasing it again in 2020. This does not apply to education expenditures, which have grown significantly and steadily throughout the 2017-2021 period.
In 2017, 56% of expenditures for children are for education, 31% are for social assistance and 13% are for health care. In 2021, due to the outstripping growth of education expenditures, the ratio has changed significantly in favor of education – 61% of expenditures are intended for education, 26% are for social expenditures, 13% are for health care.