CHARLOTTESVILLE (AP) -- The state's population growth is outpacing the nation, with northern Virginia, Hampton Roads and the Richmond area leading the way.

University of Virginia's Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service says the state's population grew by 2.3 percent between the 2010 census and July 2012. That tops the nation's pace of growth, which was 1.7 percent during the same period.

The estimate now puts Virginia's total population at 8.2 million people.

U.Va. demographer Rebecca Tippett says more than half of the state's growth occurred in northern Virginia, which claims the state's largest locality: Fairfax County, at 1.1 million. Next in line is Virginia Beach, at 447,489. Localities outpacing the state's population growth include the cities of Covington and Fredericksburg.

Highland County is the state's smallest by population with 2,288 residents.

AP-WF-01-29-13 0703GMT

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