Population, Race and Ethnicity
Sterling is a Census-designated place in Kenai Peninsula Borough, Alaska, with a population of 5,321. According to the most recent estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, 87.90% of residents identify as white, 0.40% as Black or African American, 2.50% as American Indian or Alaska Native, 1.90% as Asian, 0.00% as Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, 1.10% as Hispanic or Latino, and 6.20% as some other race or combination of races.
Nationally, some 61.1% of Americans identify as white, 12.3% as Black or African American, 0.7% as American Indian or Alaska Native, 5.4% as Asian, 0.2% as Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, 17.8% as Hispanic or Latino, and 2.6% as some other race or combination of races.
Census respondents are also asked to report ancestry. Some of the most commonly reported ancestries in Sterling include German, Irish, English, Scottish, and Norwegian. Measured by location quotient — comparing the Census-designated place share to the national share — some of the most highly concentrated ancestries in Census-designated place are Croatian, Finnish, and Pennsylvania German.
Native and foreign-born population
An estimated 98.30% of Sterling residents are native-born, meaning they were born in the United States, Puerto Rico, a U.S. Island Area, or abroad to a U.S. citizen. Of the 1.70% of the population that is foreign-born, 54.40% have become naturalized U.S. citizens. Nationwide, 86.5% of Americans are native-born. And of the 13.5% of Americans who are foreign-born, 48.5% have become naturalized U.S. citizens.
The population of Sterling is older than the United States as a whole. The median age is 43.7 years, 5.8 years more than the national median age of 37.9 years. An estimated 15.80% of the population is 65 years and over, compared to 15.2% of the U.S. population.
Family and household composition
Family and household composition also varies heavily across the United States. In Sterling, 60.50% of households are occupied by married-couple families, compared to the 48.3% national figure. Some 2.40% of households are occupied by single male householders, 4.60% by single female householders, and 32.50% by non-family occupants. Nationwide, 4.9% of households are occupied by single male householders, 12.6% by single female householders, and 34.3% by non-family occupants. An estimated 84.90% of heads of household own their homes, compared to the national homeownership rate of 63.8%.
English is by far the most commonly spoken language in Alaska and across the U.S. as a whole. Similarly, in Sterling, 100% of local residents aged 5 and up speak English exclusively, or, if they are multilingual, speak English very well. For context, 95.1% of the 5 and older population across Alaska only speaks English, or speak it very well, and 91.5% of the same age group nationwide do.
Residents of Sterling are more likely than the typical American to be married. Of all local residents aged 15 and older, 58.2% are currently married, compared to 48.1% of Americans nationwide in the same age group. Across Alaska as a whole, 48.9% of residents 15 and older are married.
Divorce is slightly more common in Sterling than it is across the U.S. as a whole. According to Census estimates, 11.4% of residents 15 and older are divorced — compared to 10.8% of the U.S. population in the same age group. In Alaska, 11.6% of the 15 and older population is divorced.
An estimated 22.3% of Sterling residents 15 and older have never married, compared to one-third of all Americans in the same age group.
In Sterling, 14.3% of the 18 and older civilian population are veterans — compared to 7.5% of adult civilians nationwide and 12.6% of the civilian population in all of Alaska.
In Sterling, adults are more likely to have a high school education than the typical American adult, but are less likely to have a four-year college education. Among Sterling residents 25 and older, 94.30% have a high school diploma or equivalent, and 19.10% have a bachelor's degree or higher, compared to 87.7% and 31.5% of adults nationwide, respectively. Across Alaska, 92.7% of adults have graduated high school, and 29.2 have a bachelor’s degree.
The typical household in Sterling earns $82,292 a year, about $22,000 more than the national median of $60,293 and $5,600 more than the median household income across the state of $76,715.
Serious financial hardship is less common in Sterling than it is nationwide. The local poverty rate stands at 8.80%, while the national poverty rate is 14.1%. Across the state as a whole, 10.8% of the population lives below the poverty line.
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