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Sterling, Alaska
Location of Sterling, Alaska
Location of Sterling, Alaska
Country United States
State Alaska
Borough Kenai Peninsula
 • Total 79.64 sq mi (206.26 km2)
 • Land 77.78 sq mi (201.45 km2)
 • Water 1.86 sq mi (4.81 km2)
220 ft (67 m)
 • Total 5,918
 • Density 76.09/sq mi (29.38/km2)
Time zone UTC-9 (Alaska (AKST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-8 (AKDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 907
FIPS code 02-73070
GNIS feature ID 1414063

Sterling is a census-designated place (CDP) in Kenai Peninsula Borough, Alaska, United States. At the 2020 census the population was 5,918, up from 5,617 in 2010. Sterling is the tenth-most populated CDP in Alaska.


Sterling is located at 60°31′47″N 150°47′52″W / 60.52972°N 150.79778°W / 60.52972; -150.79778 (60.529635, -150.797887).

Sterling is 29 km (18 mi) east of Kenai.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 79.4 square miles (206 km2), of which, 77.3 square miles (200 km2) of it is land and 2.1 square miles (5.4 km2) of it (2.62%) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1960 115
1970 30 −73.9%
1980 919 2,963.3%
1990 3,802 313.7%
2000 4,705 23.8%
2010 5,617 19.4%
2020 5,918 5.4%
U.S. Decennial Census

Sterling first appeared on the 1960 U.S. Census as an unincorporated village. In 1980, it was made a census-designated place (CDP).

As of the census of 2000, there were 4,705 people, 1,676 households, and 1,305 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 60.9 people per square mile (23.5/km2). There were 2,554 housing units at an average density of 33.0/sq mi (12.8/km2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 92.69% White, 0.36% Black or African American, 3.25% Alaskan Native, 0.53% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 0.60% from other races, and 2.47% from two or more races. 1.21% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 1,676 households, out of which 40.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 66.5% were married couples living together, 6.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.1% were non-families. 17.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 3.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.80 and the average family size was 3.16.

In the CDP, the population was spread out, with 30.6% under the age of 18, 6.9% from 18 to 24, 29.0% from 25 to 44, 26.8% from 45 to 64, and 6.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 108.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 108.2 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $47,700, and the median income for a family was $53,889. Males had a median income of $45,063 versus $27,946 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $20,741. About 7.7% of families and 10.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.8% of those under age 18 and 5.9% of those age 65 or over.


The town now known as Sterling was originally called Naptowne when it was first opened for settlement in 1947.[1] However, the area—which had a few homesteaders by then—acquired a post office in 1954 which was given the designation of Sterling after the Sterling Highway that served the area.

An archaeological site, containing prehistoric Dena'ina house pits, has been discovered near Sterling, showing that the area was inhabited in prehistoric times.

The main industries around Sterling today are support for tourism and sport fishing and hunting.

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