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Sterling, Kansas
Location within Rice County and Kansas
Location within Rice County and Kansas
KDOT map of Rice County (legend)
Country United States
State Kansas
County Rice
Township Sterling
Founded 1872 (Peace)
Incorporated 1876
Named for Sterling Rosan
Area
 • Total 1.83 sq mi (4.75 km2)
 • Land 1.79 sq mi (4.64 km2)
 • Water 0.04 sq mi (0.11 km2)
Elevation
1,641 ft (500 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 2,248
 • Density 1,228/sq mi (473.3/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
67579
Area code 620
FIPS code 20-68200
GNIS ID 475908

Sterling is a city in Rice County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2020 census, the population of the city was 2,248. Sterling is home to Sterling College.

History

For millennia, the land now known as Kansas was inhabited by Native Americans. In 1803, most of modern Kansas was secured by the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase. In 1854, the Kansas Territory was organized, then in 1861 Kansas became the 34th U.S. state. In 1867, Rice County was founded.

Sterling was originally called Peace, and under the latter name was founded in 1872. In 1876, the name was changed to Sterling, by two brothers after their father Sterling Rosan.

In the 1890s, Jonathan S. Dillon sold groceries at his general store in Sterling. Later in 1913, he opened his first J.S. Dillon Cash Food Market in Hutchinson. Later he expanded into the Dillons grocery supermarket chain.

Historic places

Geography

Sterling is located at 38°12′38″N 98°12′16″W / 38.21056°N 98.20444°W / 38.21056; -98.20444 (38.210658, -98.204549). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.71 square miles (4.43 km2), of which, 1.67 square miles (4.33 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) is water.

Climate

Climate data for Sterling, Kansas
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 40.4
(4.67)
47.2
(8.44)
56.9
(13.83)
67.1
(19.5)
76.4
(24.67)
87.4
(30.78)
92.7
(33.72)
90.9
(32.72)
82.0
(27.78)
70.2
(21.22)
54.4
(12.44)
43.4
(6.33)
67.4
(19.67)
Daily mean °F (°C) 29.3
(-1.5)
35.0
(1.67)
44.3
(6.83)
54.2
(12.33)
64.5
(18.06)
75.1
(23.94)
80.4
(26.89)
78.6
(25.89)
69.4
(20.78)
57.2
(14)
42.6
(5.89)
32.5
(0.28)
55.3
(12.94)
Average low °F (°C) 18.1
(-7.72)
22.7
(-5.17)
31.6
(-0.22)
41.2
(5.11)
52.5
(11.39)
62.7
(17.06)
68.0
(20)
66.3
(19.06)
56.8
(13.78)
44.2
(6.78)
30.8
(-0.67)
21.5
(-5.83)
43.0
(6.11)

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 1,014
1890 1,641 61.8%
1900 2,002 22.0%
1910 2,133 6.5%
1920 2,060 −3.4%
1930 1,868 −9.3%
1940 2,215 18.6%
1950 2,243 1.3%
1960 2,303 2.7%
1970 2,312 0.4%
1980 2,312 0.0%
1990 2,536 9.7%
2000 2,642 4.2%
2010 2,328 −11.9%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 2,328 people, 786 households, and 510 families living in the city. The population density was 1,394.0 inhabitants per square mile (538.2/km2). There were 933 housing units at an average density of 558.7 per square mile (215.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 93.1% White, 2.4% African American, 0.7% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 0.9% from other races, and 2.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.3% of the population.

There were 786 households, of which 27.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.7% were married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 35.1% were non-families. 30.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.89.

The median age in the city was 29.5 years. 18.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 26.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 16% were from 25 to 44; 22% were from 45 to 64; and 16.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 50.2% male and 49.8% female.

Economy

Jacam, a chemical manufacturer serving the oil and gas industry, is the largest employer in Sterling.

Education

Primary and secondary education

The community is served by Sterling USD 376 public school district. The district has three schools in Sterling:

  • Sterling High School, 308 East Washington Avenue, Grades 9 to 12.

College

Sterling College is a four-year institution affiliated with the Presbyterian Church USA. The college is one of the largest employers in the city of Sterling. The Sterling Warriors play home football games at Smisor Stadium and their home basketball games in the Clair L. Gleason PE Center on the Lonnie Kruse Court.

Infrastructure

Transportation

Highway

K-96 / K-14 state highway passes through Sterling. KDOT has proposed converting K-96 into a 4-lane highway and bypass the cities of Nickerson and Sterling. Numerous routes have been studied.

Rail

The Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad passes through the city.

Notable people

See also: List of Sterling College notable people
  • Doris Fleeson, syndicated journalist, born in Sterling
  • Nicolle Galyon, songwriter/singer, won AMC and CMA, raised in Sterling
  • Lorene Harrison, musician, educator, born in Sterling
  • Martin Pence, United States District Court judge, born in Sterling
  • Richard G. Weede, United States Marine Corps General, born in Sterling
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