Durango is known nationally and even internationally for two reasons: one being that it is "the land of the scorpions" due to the many species of scorpions in the state, especially in the colonial areas, and second as "the land of cinema." Durango has among its credits over 120 film productions, both domestic and foreign, and as a result, during the decades of the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s, had earned that title. Durango has established itself as one of the favorite places of film producers and directors due to its picturesque views and scenic beauty.

Durango consists of geographical diversity which allows sports enthusiasts to participate in extreme sports such as kayaking, mountain biking, abseiling, free climbing and more; Durango is also home to a quantity of gorges, and voluminous waterfalls that measure 80 feet (24 m) one of which is Salto del Agua LLovida. The state also has numerous lakes that measure over 800 meters in diameter such as Lago de Puentecillas (Puentecillas Lake).


According to the 2005 census, there were 526,629 people in the city and the surrounding communities of the municipality; INEGI projects a population of 631,712 by the 2010 census. The ethnic composition of the city is 51% European, 45% mestizo, 4% Arabs & East Asians, and less than 1% Indigenous. Two-thirds of the city's residents live in single-family homes and 25% in apartment buildings; 9% live in sub-standard housing. Measured in terms of income, the city's poverty rate was 10.9% in 2003 and, including the municipality, 20.6%. Other studies estimate that 200,000 in the metropolitan Durango area live in poverty.

The majority of Duranguenses, like many Northern Mexicans, have European origins, with most of them being criollos, meaning that they are descendants of the colonial-era Spaniard settlers with African and Indigenous contributions to the people as well. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there were small immigration waves to Northern and Central Mexico from Europe and the Middle East, many of which reached Durango.