Population growth in Virginia outpaced the nation according to the most recent official annual population estimates out of the Weldon Cooper Center. Virginia’s population grew by 2.3 percent, to nearly 8.2 million residents, between the 2010 census and July 1, 2012, according to the center’s estimates. During this period, the nation’s population grew by 1.7 percent. Virginia posted the 13th-highest growth rate and the sixth-largest numerical population gain. The largest population gains were concentrated in the urban centers of Northern Virginia, Richmond and Hampton Roads. Charlottesville and Staunton were among the independent cities growing at a rate faster than the state since 2010.