We present a non-perturbative study of the equation of state in the deconfined phase of Yang-Mills theories in D=2+1 dimensions. We introduce a holographic model, based on the improved holographic QCD model, from which we derive a non-trivial relation between the order of the deconfinement phase transition and the behavior of the trace of the energy-momentum tensor as a function of the temperature T. We compare the theoretical predictions of this holographic model with a new set of high-precision numerical results from lattice simulations of SU(N) theories with N=2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 colors. The latter reveal that, similarly to the D=3+1 case, the bulk equilibrium thermodynamic quantities (pressure, trace of the energy-momentum tensor, energy density and entropy density) exhibit nearly perfect proportionality to the number of gluons, and can be successfully compared with the holographic predictions in a broad range of temperatures. Finally, we also show that, again similarly to the D=3+1 case, the trace of the energy-momentum tensor appears to be proportional to T^2 in a wide temperature range, starting from approximately 1.2 T_c, where T_c denotes the critical deconfinement temperature.
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