Skip to content


Dubai city profile | city data

City data: Key facts

  • Geographical area: 4,357 sq. km
  • Total population: 2,327,350
  • Percentage of total national population living in the city: 24.9%
  • Education level – percentage with degree level or higher: 31.80%
  • GDP (PPP) million: $108.39 billion

Dubai is the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates and continues to be one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Home to over 190 nationalities
and a wide variety of languages, the city is taking steps to diversify its
increasingly dynamic economy and is enjoying a steadily growing GDP.

The tourism and cultural sectors are crucial in diversifying Dubai’s
economy, with the former steadily increasing over the years, and developing in
tandem with the cultural sector, resulting in Dubai witnessing a growing demand
for diversified cultural offerings for its residents and tourists. The
Government of Dubai has therefore made major investments to

develop the city’s infrastructure, broaden its offer, and provide adequate policies,
subsidies, support systems, and services to increase its attractiveness to the
cultural and creative sectors.

Dubai Culture & Arts Authority’s new strategic roadmap to 2025, which
was approved by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice
President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, was launched and is
being led by its Chairperson, Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin
Rashid Al Maktoum. The roadmap charts the Emirate’s ambition to transform into
a global centre for culture, a thriving hub for talent, and an incubator for
creativity – making Dubai the region’s leading cultural destination and
creative metropolis. Dubai thrives to be a platform for diverse regional and
global cultural exchange and innovation, and to foster a sustainable cultural
ecosystem, while nurturing talent to enhance cultural diversity and social

Over the years, there has been an increased awareness in Dubai of the need
to conserve and promote the Emirate’s heritage and cultural identity. This has
encouraged the development of strategies to increase cultural participation and
engagement of the local community and residents and plans to strengthen Dubai’s
position as the region’s leading cultural destination. Recently projects have
included, The Etihad Museum which opened in in January 2017, which is
dedicated to telling the story of the United Arab Emirates’ development; the
transformation of Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, located in the oldest
part of the city, by the Dubai Creek, which takes visitors back to the mid-19th
century - 1970s, with its beautiful architecture housing the some of the city’s
leading culture and heritage centre, art exhibitions, workshops, boutique
hotels, cafés, restaurants and events; and Al Shindagha Museum, the
first phase of the Dubai Historical District project that is being developed in
collaboration between Dubai Municipality, Dubai Culture and Dubai Tourism, as
part of the efforts to safeguard both the tangible and intangible Emirati

Dubai is keen on developing and promoting the city’s creative industries
that will shape a unique identity for the cultural sector in the Emirate.
Forthcoming projects include The Museum of the Future, which is
currently under construction and is in itself an architectural feat. The museum
will act as an incubator for ideas, a driver for innovation, and a destination
for inventors and entrepreneurs from around the world to meet and exchange.

The Emirate’s main cultural seasons take place annually around Dubai Art
Season in March and Dubai Design Week in November. Every year in
March, the city hosts and celebrates the Emirate’s Art Season which includes
city wide activities and events including Sikka Art Fair, Art Dubai,
the leading international art fair and unique platform for art across the
Global South, Art Week at Alserkal Avenue, as well as a range of outdoor
programming and public art projects, interactive initiatives, workshops and
exhibitions that celebrates the Emirate’s growing creative ecosystem to the

Looking ahead, 2021 will see Dubai hosting World Expo under the
theme, Connecting Minds, Creating the Future, which will focus on
partnerships and cooperation, act as a catalyst to connect minds from around
the world, and inspire participants to mobilise around shared challenges. The
World Expo will see a wide range of cultural initiatives launched in the lead
up and throughout the event.