Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire), People and Society
Kolwezi, Elisabethville, Kisangani, Burundians, Stanleyville
The DRC has a population (2002 estimate) of 55,225,478, with a density of 24 persons per sq km (61 per sq mi). Largely rural, the population is concentrated in the eastern highlands and along rivers. Only about 30 percent of the population lives in cities. In 2000 the DRC also had a refugee population of about 332,509, many of whom were exiles from instability in Rwanda. The remainder were Burundians, Angolans, and Sudanese, all fleeing upheavals in their countries. Meanwhile, about 368,731 DRC citizens had taken refuge in neighboring countries.
The capital and largest city of the DRC is Kinshasa (formerly Leopoldville). Among other major cities are a southeastern copper-mining city, Lubumbashi (formerly Elisabethville); a south central diamond-mining center, Mbuji-Mayi (formerly Bakwanga); a southeastern industrial city, Kolwezi; and a northeastern Congo River port, Kisangani (formerly Stanleyville). Matadi, on the Congo estuary, is the DRCís principal seaport.
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