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According to the data of NSI (National Institute of Statistics) the people who actually live in Plovdiv are 346,790. According to the 2012 census 339,077 live within the city limits, and 403,153 in the municipal triangle of Plovdiv, including Maritsa municipality andRodopi municipality, of which the city is the municipal center
At the first census after the Liberation of Bulgaria in 1880 with 24 053 citizens Plovdiv is the second largest city behind Ruse, which had 26 163 citizens then, while the capital Sofia had 20 501 citizens then. As of the 1887 census Plovdiv was the largest city in the country for several years with 33,032 inhabitants compared to 30,428 for Sofia. According to the 1946 census Plovdiv was the second largest city with 126,563 inhabitants compared to 487,000 for the capital.
In its ethnic character Plovdiv is the second or the third largest cosmopolitan city inhabited by Bulgarians after Sofia and possibly Varna. According to the 2001 census from population of 338 224 inhabitants the Bulgarians were 302 858 (90%). Stolipinovo in Plovdiv is the largest Gypsy neighbourhood in the Balkans, having a population of around 20,000 alone, further Gypsy ghettos are Hadji Hassan Mahala andSheker Mahala. Therefore the census number is a deflation of the number of the Gypsies and they are most likely the second largest group after the Bulgarians, most of all because the Muslim Gypsies in Plovdiv claim to be of Turkish ethnicity and Turkish-speaking at the census (“Xoraxane Roma”). For further information see the article The Gypsies in Plovdiv.
After the Wars for National Union (Balkan Wars and World War I) the city became home for thousands of refugees from the former Bulgarian lands in Macedonia, Western and Eastern Thrace. Many of the old neighbourhoods are still referred to as Belomorski, Vardarski. Most of the Jews left the city after the foundation of Israel in 1948, as well as most of the Turks and Greeks. Prior to the population exchange, as of 1 January 1885, the city of Plovdiv had a population of 33,442, of which 16,752 were Bulgarians (50%), 7,144 Turks (21%), 5,497 Greeks (16%), 2,168 Jews (6%), 1,061 Armenians (3%), 151 Italians, 112Germans, 112 Romani people, 80 French people, 61 Russians and 304 people of other nationalities.
The vast majority of the inhabitants are Christians – mostly Eastern Orthodox — and there are Catholics, Eastern Catholics and Protestant trends (Adventists, Baptists and others). There are also someMuslims and Jews. In Plovdiv there are many churches, two mosques and one synagogue (see Plovdiv Synagogue)
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