Public expenditure on culture as a percentage of GDP


Total general government expenditure on culture, expressed as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Data source

At national level, ministries of finance, and/or ministries of culture, environment financial management systems are the source of government expenditure on culture. Data on expenditure by lower levels of government can be centralized or collected directly from local authorities.

Source definition

UNESCO Institute for statistics

Calculation method

Divide total government expenditure for culture by the GDP, and multiply by 100

Data required

Central, regional and local government expenditure data on culture; GDP for a given year.


A higher percentage of GDP spent on culture shows a higher government priority for culture, but also a higher capacity of the government to raise revenues for public spending, in relation to the size of the country's economy. When interpreting this indicator however, one should keep in mind in some countries, the private sector may fund a higher proportion of total funding for culture, thus making government expenditure appear lower than in other countries.


One limitation of this indicator is that it is not able to take into account all cultural activities including those that are informal and unpaid. In some instances data on total public expenditure on culture refers only to the Ministry of culture, excluding other ministries or other cultural institutions which may also spend a part of their budget on cultural activities.


To show the proportion of a country’s wealth generated during a given year that was spent by government authorities on culture. This indicator is useful to compare culture expenditure between countries and/or over time in relation to the size of their economy.

Types of disaggregation

By type of government (National/Federal, Regional /State/ Provincial, Local/Municipal)