Sterling, Alaska

According to 800zipcodes, Sterling, Alaska is located in the Kenai Peninsula Borough. It is situated on the south side of the Kenai River, just a few miles from its mouth on Cook Inlet. It has a population of around 1,000 people and covers an area of about five square miles.

The climate of Sterling is mild and temperate, with an average temperature of around 49 degrees Fahrenheit in the summertime and 32 degrees Fahrenheit in the wintertime. The area receives an average of about 48 inches of precipitation each year.

Sterling has a rich history that dates back to the early 1900s when it was founded by settlers from the lower 48 states who were attracted by the ample salmon fishing opportunities in nearby Cook Inlet. The town flourished as a commercial center for many years but began to decline after World War II as its residents moved away to find work elsewhere.

Politically, Sterling is part of Alaska’s District 28 and elects two representatives to represent them at the state level. The local government consists of a mayor and four city council members who are elected at-large every two years.

The economy in Sterling is largely based on tourism, fishing, and logging industries; however, it also has a thriving small business sector that includes retail stores, restaurants, and service providers catering to both locals and visitors alike.

There are three public schools located within Sterling: one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school which serves students from all over District 28. All three schools are part of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District which provides educational materials and resources for students from kindergarten through grade 12.

Sterling’s most well-known landmark is its historic downtown area which features several buildings dating back to its founding days as well as several modern establishments including restaurants and shops catering to both tourists and locals alike. Other notable landmarks include a local lighthouse built in 1895 that stands at the entrance of Cook Inlet; an old cannery building which now houses a seafood restaurant; an abandoned gold mine; and several historic churches built during Sterling’s heyday as a commercial center for salmon fishing operations in Cook Inlet.

Population: 4,705
Males: 2,447 (52.0%), Females: 2,258 (48.0%)

Zip code: 99672

Median resident age: 36.4 years
Median household income: $47,700
Median house value: $120,100

Races in Sterling:

  • White Non-Hispanic (91.9%)
  • American Indian (4.6%)
  • Two or more races (2.5%)
  • Hispanic (1.2%)
  • Other race (0.6%)

Ancestries: German (17.6%), United States (11.4%), English (10.5%), Irish (10.0%), Swedish (4.7%), Norwegian (4.1%).

Land area: 77.3 square miles

Sterling, Alaska



Sterling, Alaska is a small unincorporated community located in the Kenai Peninsula Borough. It is situated at the junction of the Kenai River and Swanson River, approximately 40 miles northeast of Soldotna. Sterling has an estimated population of 1,500 residents.

The majority of Sterling’s population consists of White Americans with a small percentage of Native Alaskans. The median age in Sterling is 36 years old and the median household income is $71,000. The average homeowner in Sterling owns their home outright and there are many retirees in the area who have chosen to settle down here due to its scenic beauty and relaxed atmosphere. Many residents are employed by local businesses such as fishing, logging, mining, tourism, and construction. There are also several schools in the area that provide educational opportunities for children from kindergarten through 12th grade.

The people of Sterling enjoy access to many recreational activities such as fishing, hunting, skiing, snowmobiling, camping and hiking in nearby lakes and forests. In addition to these outdoor activities there are also several museums and art galleries located within a short drive from town where visitors can learn about local history or experience some local artworks. The town also has several restaurants that serve traditional Alaskan fare as well as more modern cuisines. There are also several churches throughout town that offer Sunday services for those looking for spiritual guidance or fellowship with other members of their faith community.

For population 25 years and over in Sterling

  • High school or higher: 89.2%
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher: 17.8%
  • Graduate or professional degree: 5.3%
  • Unemployed: 9.7%
  • Mean travel time to work: 32.6 minutes

For population 15 years and over in Sterling CDP

  • Never married: 21.2%
  • Now married: 65.9%
  • Separated: 1.0%
  • Widowed: 2.4%
  • Divorced: 9.5%

1.6% Foreign born


Hospitals/medical centers near Sterling:



Airports certified for carrier operations nearest to Sterling:

  • KENAI MUNI (about 31 miles; KENAI, AK; Abbreviation: ENA)
  • TED STEVENS ANCHORAGE INTL (about 72 miles; ANCHORAGE, AK; Abbreviation: ANC)
  • HOMER (about 78 miles; HOMER, AK; Abbreviation: HOM)

Other public-use airports nearest to Sterling:

  • MACKEYS LAKES (about 13 miles; SOLDOTNA, AK; Abbreviation: L85)
  • SOLDOTNA (about 16 miles; SOLDOTNA, AK; Abbreviation: SXQ)
  • SOLDOTNA HOSPITAL H (about 19 miles; SOLDOTNA, AK; Abbreviation: SD1)

Colleges and Universities

Colleges/universities with over 2000 students nearest to Sterling:

  • UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA ANCHORAGE (about 83 miles; ANCHORAGE, AK; Full-time enrollment: 9,453)
  • UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA FAIRBANKS (about 362 miles; FAIRBANKS, AK; Full-time enrollment: 5,034)
  • PENINSULA COLLEGE (about 2079 miles; PORT ANGELES, WA; Full-time enrollment: 2,374)
  • WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY (about 2119 miles; BELLINGHAM, WA; Full-time enrollment: 11,889)
  • WHATCOM COMMUNITY COLLEGE (about 2122 miles; BELLINGHAM, WA; Full-time enrollment: 2,656)
  • EVERGREEN STATE COLLEGE (about 2135 miles; OLYMPIA, WA; Full-time enrollment: 3,749)
  • SKAGIT VALLEY COLLEGE (about 2137 miles; MT VERNON, WA; Full-time enrollment: 3,420)

Public primary/middle school in Sterling:

  • STERLING ELEMENTARY (Students: 208; Location: DRAWER 89; Grades: PK – 06)