The Washington region grew by 82,400 persons in the past year, or 2.3 percent, continuing the rapid growth of the early 1980s, according to a study by the Greater Washington Research Center.

During the 1970s, the National Capital region grew by 211,000 persons, or 6.9 percent in 10 years.

But after 1980 the Washington area boomed, gaining 523,000 in population, or 9.6 percent, in only six years, according to 1986 U.S. Census Bureau figures. This is four times as fast as the growth rate of the 1970s.

The rapid rate of growth apparently continued last year, according to the Grier Partnership, which prepared the population study for the research center.

As in the early 1980s, most of the growth continued to be in fringe jurisdictions, particularly in Northern Virginia, the study says. But it notes that the growth rate continues strong in Montgomery and Frederick counties and has "rebounded" in Prince George's County.

Fairfax County led in population growth, with an estimated 21,000 new residents last year, followed by Montgomery County with 19,000 and Prince William County with 15,400.

The District population, which gained an estimated 1,000 new residents, "has bottomed out and begun to rise again after decades of decline," the center report said.

The 1986 figures used in the study are from local governments and appear to be conservative, the Griers said. The total Washington area population in 1986, based on estimates of local governments, is 3,527,500 residents, about 35,000 less than the Census Bureau's 1986 estimate of 3,563,000.