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Sterling Heights, Michigan
City of Sterling Heights
Sterling Heights City Hall
Sterling Heights City Hall
Official logo of Sterling Heights, Michigan
To Strive on Behalf of All.
Location within Macomb County
Location within Macomb County
Sterling Heights, Michigan is located in Michigan
Sterling Heights, Michigan
Sterling Heights, Michigan
Location in Michigan
Country United States
State Michigan
County Macomb
Incorporated 1968 (city)
 • Type Council–manager
 • Total 36.72 sq mi (95.10 km2)
 • Land 36.43 sq mi (94.36 km2)
 • Water 0.28 sq mi (0.74 km2)
614 ft (187 m)
 • Total 134,346
 • Density 3,635.01/sq mi (1,403.47/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP code(s)
48310, 48311, 48312, 48313, 48314
Area code(s) 586
FIPS code 26-76460
GNIS feature ID 0638798

Sterling Heights is a city in Macomb County of the U.S. state of Michigan, and one of Detroit's core suburbs. As of the 2020 Census, the city had a total population of 134,346. It is the second largest suburb in Metro Detroit, and the fourth largest city in Michigan.


Sterling Heights was incorporated as a city in 1968. It was until the 1950s an agricultural area largely devoted to growing rhubarb and other crops sold in Detroit. Prior to 1968 Sterling Heights was known as Sterling Township. It had from 1836 until 1838 been known as Jefferson Township.

Dobry Road on the northern city limits is named after the last township supervisor, Anthony Dobry, who was also the second mayor.

Gerald Donovan became the first mayor of the city. F. James Dunlop became the first mayor pro-tem. There was already a small village named Sterling in Arenac County, so the word "Heights" was added to the township name to satisfy a state law that prevents incorporated municipalities from having the same name. "Moravian" was another name under consideration for the new city.

Lakeside Mall opened in Sterling Heights in 1976.

By 1991 the city had received many people of ethnic European origins, including ethnic Albanians, Bosnians, Croatians, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Serbians, and Slovenians. They moved from Detroit and Hamtramck. In the 1990s, ethnic Macedonians in Sterling Heights, together with ethnic Serbs, had the nickname "Yugos." The ethnic Albanians had the nickname the "Albos." The two groups often had conflicts in the 1990s. As of 1991 many residents worked in automobile plants operated by Chrysler and Ford, and that year, Murray Dublin of The Baltimore Sun described Sterling Heights as "blue collar."

The August 2006 issue of Money magazine listed Sterling Heights as No. 19 on its list of the 90 "Best Small Cities" to live in.


  • According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 36.80 square miles (95.31 km2), of which 36.51 square miles (94.56 km2) is land and 0.29 square miles (0.75 km2) is water.
  • Sterling Heights is part of the Clinton River watershed, and branches of the river flow through the city.

Sterling Heights is 16 miles (26 km) from Downtown Detroit. The shape of the city is 6 miles (9.7 km) long and 6 miles wide.

In 1991 Murray Dublin of The Baltimore Sun wrote that "it is a city of subdivisions rather than ethnic neighborhoods."

Sterling Heights experienced its first-ever mayoral primary in 2009. David Magliulo and Teresa Bil, signaled intentions to run against incumbent Mayor Richard J. Notte, who ultimately won another term.

Neighboring communities

Main highways

Sterling Heights sits on two main thoroughfares:

State highways

  • M-53 commonly called Van Dyke Avenue or the Van Dyke Freeway (they split in the city, however and rejoin to its north), which lead north into The Thumb and
  • M-59,commonly called Hall Road once the freeway ends—which is the east–west connector from just north of Mount Clemens, through Utica as a surface road, and then becomes a limited access freeway to Pontiac, Michigan, being the main northern connector between Macomb County and Oakland County. In Sterling Heights, large areas are devoted to retail and commercial development (e.g., Lakeside Mall).

Other main roads

  • Mound Road is an important north-south artery in the city.
  • East-west travel is mainly on the mile roads, those being 14 Mile Road on the south (Warren) border through 20 Mile Road (M-59) on the north border. See Roads and freeways in metropolitan Detroit.
  • 16 Mile Road (known as Metropolitan Parkway to the east, and Big Beaver Road to the west) is a main thoroughfare.
  • Utica Road is an important diagonal connector that criss-crosses the city to northwest, going at the intersection of Dodge Park Road (across from the Sterling Heights city hall, and across the road from Dodge Park) through the first roundabout in Macomb County.
  • Dequindre Road is the border between the city of Sterling Heights and the city of Troy. It is also the border between Macomb County and Oakland counties.
  • Hayes Road is the divider between Clinton Township (Between Utica Road and South of M59) and Fraser (Between Masonic and Moravian).


Historical population
Census Pop.
1940 3,648
1950 6,509 78.4%
1960 14,622 124.6%
1970 61,365 319.7%
1980 108,999 77.6%
1990 117,810 8.1%
2000 124,471 5.7%
2010 129,699 4.2%
2020 134,346 3.6%
U.S. Decennial Census
2018 Estimate

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 129,699 people, 49,451 households, and 34,515 families living in the city. The population density was 3,552.4 inhabitants per square mile (1,371.6/km2). There were 52,190 housing units at an average density of 1,429.5 per square mile (551.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 85.1% White, 5.2% African American, 0.2% Native American, 6.7% Asian, 0.5% from other races, and 2.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.9% of the population.

There were 49,451 households, of which 31.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.0% were married couples living together, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 30.2% were non-families. 26.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.20.

The median age in the city was 40.4 years. 21.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.8% were from 25 to 44; 28.6% were from 45 to 64; and 15.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.5% male and 51.5% female.

Sister cities

Sister City initiatives give opportunities for the cities' residents to come to know each others' cultures.

The initiatives will facilitate the cultural, educational, municipal, business, professional and technical exchanges and projects among the sister cities.

Its sister cities are:


Sterling Heights is served by two public school districts: Utica Community Schools, which serves the northern half of the city, and Warren Consolidated Schools, which serves the southern half of the city. Utica operates two high schools in the city, Stevenson High School and Henry Ford II High School, while Warren Consolidated only operates one in Sterling Heights High School.

Notable people

  • Tom Jankiewicz, screenwriter; raised in Sterling Heights
  • Shawn Hunwick, Retired NHL goaltender .
  • Greg Pateryn, NHL defenseman
  • Craig Krenzel, Former NFL player. Krenzel played originally for Ohio State University, winning the National Championship in 2003. He went on to play for the Chicago Bears and Cincinnati Bengals. He attended Henry Ford II High School.
  • Frank Zombo, Professional football linebacker for Kansas City Chiefs
  • Porcelain Black, Industrial pop singer
  • Pete Chryplewicz, former football player in the National Football League
  • Kalin Lucas former NBA player, born and raised in Sterling Heights. Attended Grissom Middle School. Also played college basketball at Michigan State and won Big Ten Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Year in 2009.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Sterling Heights para niños

National Hispanic Heritage Month on Kiddle
Outstanding Hispanic athletes
Mary Joe Fernández
Carlos Bocanegra
Dara Torres
Maya DiRado
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