Sterling is a census-designated place (CDP) in Kenai Peninsula Borough, Alaska, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 5,617, up from 4,705 in 2000.
Sterling is located on the western side of the Kenai Peninsula at 60°31′47″N 150°47′52″W / 60.52972°N 150.79778°W / 60.52972; -150.79778 (60.529635, -150.797887). It is bordered to the west by Ridgeway, to the southwest by Soldotna, and to the south by Funny River. Soldotna Creek forms the western boundary of the community, and the Kenai River forms the southern boundary.
Alaska Route 1, the Sterling Highway, runs through the community, leading southwest 11 miles (18 km) to the center of Soldotna and east 34 miles (55 km) to Cooper Landing at the outlet of Kenai Lake. The city of Kenai is 22 miles (35 km) to the west via Soldotna.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the Sterling CDP has a total area of 79.7 square miles (206.3 km), of which 77.8 square miles (201.4 km) are land and 1.9 square miles (4.9 km), or 2.36%, are water.
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.