According to estimates released by the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, Virginia’s population grew faster than the nation’s in 2012.

“Nearly all of the commonwealth’s population growth in the past two years occurred in metropolitan areas, with more than half of the growth between 2010 and 2012 occurring in Northern Virginia,” said demographer Rebecca Tippett in a news release Friday.

At the state level, Virginia’s now nearly 8.2 million residents show a two-year population increase of 2.3 percent. The nation’s total grew by 1.7 percent during the same period.  Virginia ranked 13th in growth rate nationwide and posted the sixth-largest numerical population gain.

“Between 2000 and 2010, Virginia’s counties grew much faster than its cities,” Tippett said. “For the past two years, the average population growth in Virginia’s independent cities has matched the county growth rate, with many independent cities among the fastest-growing localities.”

Growing by 3.7 percent, Charlottesville was listed among the cities that outpaced the state in growth since 2010.  

The Weldon Cooper Center estimates that Charlottesville’s population increased from 43,475 in the 2010 census to 45,073 as of July 1, 2012.  

Albemarle’s population increased by a total of 2.6 percent, and the center estimates that between the April 2010 census and July 2012, the county grew from 98,970 people to 101,575.

The combined total for Charlottesville and Albemarle was 146,648. In the past year, the populations grew by 602 and 795, respectively.

The Charlottesville metropolitan area’s population grew from 201,559 to 206,615 in the last two years. This area includes the city and Albemarle, Greene, Nelson and Fluvanna counties.

The Weldon Cooper Center produces population estimates during each of the years between census collections, which occur every 10 years. The center’s estimates are the official population estimates for Virginia’s counties and cities.

The data cited in this report represent what the center estimates population numbers to have been as of July 1, 2012. To collect the data, demographers survey changes since 2010 in housing stock, school enrollment, births, deaths and driver’s licenses. Many state and local government agencies use this data to inform funding and budgeting decisions.