Cotonou is the largest city and economic centre of Benin. Its official population count was 761,137 inhabitants in 2006. However, some estimates indicate its population to be as high as 1.2 million; the population in 1960 was only 70,000. The urban area continues to expand, notably towards the west.
In addition to being Benin's largest city, it is also the seat of government (even though Porto-Novo is the official capital); it is home to most of the country's government buildings and diplomatic services. The city is a major port, and is also home to an airport and a railway that links to Parakou.