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 (60.529635, -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 km2), of which 77.8 square miles (201.4 km2) are land and 1.9 square miles (4.9 km2), 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).