As of the 2001 census, there were 178,714 people residing within the canton limits. Durán is part of Guayaquil's metropolitan area. Most of its residents are commuters, hence it is known as a dormitory city. Duran, Samborondon, and Guayaquil are connected by the bridge Rafael Mendoza Avilés.
Duran is also well known for being the first (one of the) rail hubs in Ecuador. As of July, 2007, there were government programs in place to reactivate the railroad located on this city, and the railways interconnecting Duran with other cities located in the highlands.
It is also well known as a touristic attraction for tourists interested in steam powered locomotive equipment.