The 1963-72 period has been one of both major progress and the persistence of still serious impediments in the pursuit of the goals of nationhood and modernization. On the whole, the objectives of modernization have been less equivocally achieved than those of nationhood, which involve more complex and subtle relationships. By far the main impetus and unifying influence has come from the president of the republic, Félix Houphouët-Boigny, whose career as the principal public person in Ivory Coast now extends over more than twenty-five years. The steadiness of Houphouët-Boigny's leadership apparently has secured a degree of legitimacy for postindependence political and legal institutions and processes, despite the great ethnic variation that exists in Ivory Coast.
Most of the demographic statistics available in early 1973 were based on manipulation of data obtained from the incomplete 1957-58 census. The government has planned and budgeted for a census to begin in 1973, and some special censuses have been conducted in the interim.
The January 1973 Ivorian population estimate of the United States Bureau of Economic Analysis is 5,013,000. The estimated annual rate of growth, a crucial determinant in population projections, has varied for Ivory Coast from 1 to 3 percent. The Ivory Coast annual rate of population increase between 1960 and 1965 was judged to be 2.8 percent, the highest in francophone Africa. Projected figures for 1985 place the total population at 7,070,000, with an urban sector of 42 percent (2,970,000).
The overall population density has grown from twenty-five persons per square mile in 1960 to thirty-five persons per square mile in 1972. The heavily urbanized and rich agricultural areas of the south-central and southeastern regions are more densely populated than they were a decade ago, the northern and eastern regions have fewer than twenty persons per square mile, and areas of the extreme northeastern and southwestern parts of the country remain virtually uninhabited.
The age and sex distribution is characteristic of most African countries, with large numbers of children and young adults and few elderly persons. Approximately 57 percent of the people are under twenty, and only 3 percent are fifty years old or older. Most non-Ivorian Africans,