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Number of museums per million inhabitants 2020, by UNESCO regional classification

According to UNESCO, the current estimated number of museums in the world is around 95 thousand. As of May 2020, Western Europe and North America, excluding the United States, recorded 52 museums per million inhabitants. Meanwhile, the U.S., which is the country with the highest estimated number of museums worldwide, reported about 101 museums per million population. Overall, there were 12.5 museums per million inhabitants worldwide as of the survey period.

Number of museums per million inhabitants worldwide as of May 2020, by UNESCO regional classification

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Release date

May 2020



Survey time period


Supplementary notes

*North America excluding the U.S.
**Non-member countries as of 2020.
Population figures have been rounded.

The source specifies that figures were provided by: "UNESCO Member States that replied to the questionnaire on the implementation of the '2015 Recommendation concerning the Protection and Promotion of Museums and Collections, their Diversity and their Role in Society' (published in 2019)" and compiled by "Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), Global Library Statistics, which lists libraries and museums from the following sources:

Saur compilation, Museums of the World, Munich, KG Saur Verlag/ De Gruyter, 2016 (23rd ed.). Except for the United States of America (Institute of Museums and Libraries Services, Museums data files".

The source adds the following information:
"These figures have been amended on the basis of the reports provided by Member States for the Recommendation follow-up (in 2019) and the data provided this year by UNESCO Field Offices. In the light of the above, these statistics should be viewed with caution. For example, the number of museums given for the United States of America has a large impact on the overall statistics (over 33,000 museums). On the other hand, the statistics given for Chinese museums (1,030) is clearly lower than other estimates found on the Internet (more than 5,000), but as these had not yet been validated by China in a previous report to UNESCO or by a Field Office, it was decided to maintain the figure given in the Directory of World Museums".

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