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Welcome to Sterling ...

The city of Sterling is located in Whiteside County<1>.

The pronunciation of Sterling: STER-ling<2>

While we don't have a date for the founding of Sterling, you might consider that their post office opened  in 1851.

When the people of Sterling refer to themselves (known as a demonym), they frequently use Sterlingite<3>

From the  Census Estimates for 2019, Sterling has a population of 14,468 people<4> (see below for details).

Sterling is 670 feet [204 m] above sea level.<5>.

Time Zone: Sterling lies in the Central Time Zone (CST/CDT) and observes daylight saving time

Area codes for Sterling: (815) & (779)<6>

The ZIP code for Sterling: 61081<7>

Websites for Sterling ...

Official Website:

Population Details ...

Taken from the 2019 Census Estimates, Sterling had an population of 14,468 people. This is a decrease of 5.87% since the 2010 Census (or a decrease of 6.36% since the 2000 Census).

At the time of the 2010 Census, Sterling had a population of 15,370 people (or 26.27% of the total population of Whiteside County). This makes Sterling the county's most populous community.

The population of Sterling represents 0.12% of the population of Illinois (which has 12,830,632 people), making it the state's 161st most populous community.

With a 2010 count of 15,370 people, the population of Sterling has remained roughly the same as the 2000 Census (with a count of 15,451 people).

More information can be found on the Census Page for Sterling.

Communities Also Named Sterling ...

Using our Gazetteer, we found that there are 41 communities that are also named Sterling - they are located in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida (2), Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas (2), Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan (2), Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina (2), North Dakota, Nova Scotia, Ohio (2), Oklahoma (2), Pennsylvania (2), Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia (2) and Wisconsin.

For more information, see our Tidbits & Trivia Page for Sterling.

Communities near Sterling ...

We have created a list of 10 communities that are near Sterling.

  • Dixon
    (11 miles [17.7 km] to the east)
  • Morrison
    (13 miles [20.9 km] to the west)
    • Note: The GPS coordinates that we are using for Morrison have been provided by the GNIS.<9> The coordinates still need to be verified.
    • Jump to our Gazetteer entry for Morrison
    • Morrison is located in Whiteside County
    • Population from the 2020 Census: 3,950 people
    • Jump to a Google Map centered on Morrison
    • Jump to TripAdvisor's Tourism page for Morrison <8>
  • Amboy
    (17 miles [27.4 km] to the east)
    • Note: The GPS coordinates that we are using for Amboy have been provided by the GNIS.<9> The coordinates still need to be verified.
    • Jump to our Gazetteer entry for Amboy
    • Amboy is located in Lee County
    • Population from the 2020 Census: 2,287 people
    • Jump to a Google Map centered on Amboy
    • Jump to TripAdvisor's Tourism page for Amboy <8>
  • Polo
    (14 miles [22.5 km] to the northeast)
  • Prophetstown
    (14 miles [22.5 km] to the southwest)
  • Walnut
    (16 miles [25.7 km] to the south)
  • Milledgeville
    (12 miles [19.3 km] to the north)
  • Tampico
    (11 miles [17.7 km] to the southwest)
  • Lyndon
    (12 miles [19.3 km] to the southwest)
    • Note: The GPS coordinates that we are using for Lyndon have been provided by the GNIS.<9> The coordinates still need to be verified.
    • Jump to our Gazetteer entry for Lyndon
    • Lyndon is located in Whiteside County
    • Population from the 2020 Census: 604 people
    • Jump to a Google Map centered on Lyndon
    • Jump to TripAdvisor's Tourism page for Lyndon <8>
  • Chadwick
    (18 miles [29 km] to the northwest)

To Help With Your Genealogy Research ...

We have a couple of sections for those tracing their genealogy.

We created a list of cemeteries that are in the area around Sterling. Our list includes the location of those cemeteries and we provide an overhead view. See our Cemetery List for Sterling.

Using the information from an 1895 Atlas, we've created a list of communities that were in the area of Sterling. Our list includes information such as whether the 1895 community had a post office or railroad service. See our List of 1890's Communities around Sterling.

We also have a detailed list of newspapers that have been published in the area around Sterling. Our list includes 22 papers. See our Newspapers Page for Sterling.

TripAdvisor Tourism Pages for Sterling ...

Looking for more information about Sterling? A wonderful source is the TripAdvisor website. We always start with the TripAdvisor Tourism page, where you can read an overview with links that will help you find lodging, restaurants and attractions.

In addition to the Tourism page for Sterling, there are neighboring communities that also have Tourism pages. More information about those communities can be found on our TripAdvisor Page for Sterling.

Adding Sterling to Our Gazetteer ...

We originally found mention of Sterling in both the FIPS-55 and the GNIS. For more information, see the FIPS and GNIS Codes sections on our Miscellaneous Page.

From our notes, the earliest published mention we've found for Sterling was in the book titled Table of U.S. Post Offices in the United States (Jan. 1851).

We also found Sterling on a map (with an unknown title) dated 1870.

For more details, see References and Mentions for Sterling.

The official website for Sterling:

The official website for Whiteside County:

The official website for State of Illinois:

Footnotes ...

<1>If you're interested in how the shape of Illinois' counties, including Whiteside, have changed over time, we recommend the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries.
<2>The pronunciation we've provided is our attempt to give a phonetic pronunciation for Sterling. While it might not be exactly right, hopefully it will be close. If we have it wrong or there's a better way to pronounce the name, please contact us through our Feedback Page.
<3>A demonym is the name for a resident of a community which is usually derived from (or is related to) the name of that community. In other words, it's how the residents of Sterling refer to themselves. It's important to note that there aren't any rules for taking a city's name and turning it into a demonym. A demonym is informal and while the majority of Sterling may use one name, keep in mind that others may use something different.
<4>Population counts have been provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. For more detail, please visit our Census Page for Sterling.
<5>The elevation is an estimate for the area around Sterling - it will be higher in some places and lower in others.
<6>Area code (779) is an overlay for area code (815).
<7>ZIP Codes have been created by the United States Postal Service (USPS) as a way of grouping addresses to make delivery more efficient. The boundaries of the ZIP Code can be changed, re-assigned, eliminated or overlapped with other ZIP Codes. So keep in mind that any given ZIP Code is only 'loosely' associated with a city (such as Sterling). When looking for a ZIP Code, whether Sterling or elsewhere, it's always best to check the website of the United States Postal Service (USPS).
<8>While we're fans and frequent users of TripAdvisor, you should know that we're also members of the TripAdvisor affiliate program.
<9>The location has been supplied by the Geographic Names Information System - which is maintained by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). While these values should be definitive, we found that accuracy can vary and you should double-check the location if accuracy is required.


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This page was last modified/updated: 04 Dec 2023