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 2010 census, the city had a total population of 129,699. It is the second largest suburb in Metro Detroit, and the fourth largest city in Michigan. Sterling Heights consistently ranks as the safest city in Michigan with population of over 100,000.
From 1836 until 1838, it was known as Jefferson Township. It was then renamed Sterling Township. Until the 1950s, it was an agricultural area largely devoted to growing rhubarb and other crops sold in Detroit. Sterling Heights was incorporated as a city in 1968. 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.
Gerald Donovan became the first mayor of the city and F. James Dunlop became the first mayor pro-tem. In the 1960s and 1970s, many residents came to live in Sterling Heights to work in automobile plants operated by Chrysler and Ford. Lakeside Mall opened in Sterling Heights in 1976.