Introduction to Sterling, Illinois

Sterling, Illinois, in Whiteside county, is 45 miles SW of Rockford, Illinois and 105 miles W of Chicago, Illinois. The city has a population of 15,451.

Sterling History

The first settler in this area was Hezekiah Brink, who arrived in 1834 and built the firt cabin in this region. He named his settlement Harrisburg. Another settler, William Patrick, settled downstream in 1836. This settlement went on to be known as Chatham. Two years later, the towns of Chatham and Harrisburg merged to form the Town of Sterling. It was officially incorporated as a city in 1857.

Sterling and nearby Attractions

  • Lawrence Park
  • Westwood
  • Emerald Hill Golf Course
  • Oppold Marina
  • Eberty Park
  • Lake View Golf and Country Club

Things To Do In Sterling

Sterling's parks offer a range of recreational opportunities including facilities for a variety of sports like tennis and racquetball. The parks also include a gym, gymnastics clubs and a public swimming pool.

Sterling Transportation

Greater Rockford Airport has facilities for international and domestic flights.

Sterling Higher Education

Illinois Valley Community College, Kishwaukee College and Rock Valley College provide opportunities for higher education in the area.


Total Population 15,208
Male Share of the Population 47.8%
Female Share of the Population 52.2%
Senior Citizens 16.9%
Employed Population 16+ 6,852
Age of the Population 37


% of people married 44.7%
Average household size 3

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 15.4%
Median Earnings25+ $28,424
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $16,528
Median Earnings With High School Degree $26,106


Median Family Income $51,627
% Above Poverty Level 84.6%
% Below Poverty Level 15.4%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 18 minutes
% Working from Home 0.8%
% Walking and Biking to Work 2.8%
% Using Public Transportation 0.7%


People Living Alone 32.2%
Median Gross Rent $623
Median House Value $83,300


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 33.6%
US/American 0%
English 8.3%
Irish 10.8%

Sterling Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 45 miles SW of Rockford, Illinois (center to center)
Nearest Large City 105 miles W of Chicago, Illinois
County Whiteside
Standard Zip Codes 61081
Phone Area Codes 815
Time Zone Central (-6 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 41.788
Longitude -89.696

Sterling Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Station DIXON 1 NW
Distance 11 miles
Jan Temp 10 to 26 F
Apr Temp 37 to 58 F
Jul Temp 62 to 82 F
Oct Temp 39 to 62 F
Annual Precip 37.2 inches
Station WALNUT
Distance 17.2 miles
Jan Temp 11 to 28 F
Apr Temp 39 to 59 F
Jul Temp 64 to 83 F
Oct Temp 41 to 63 F
Annual Precip 36.5 inches
Distance 26.1 miles
Jan Temp 8 to 29 F
Apr Temp 35 to 60 F
Jul Temp 59 to 85 F
Oct Temp 36 to 64 F
Annual Precip 37.8 inches

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Coleta 244 $46,875
Dixon 14,963 $60,833
Harmon 121 $58,250

Sterling Public Libraries

Sterling P.l.
102 W. 3RD ST.
Sterling, Illinois
(815) 625-1370
Library Web Site

library logo

More Information for Librarians

Sterling Hospitals

(Government - Local)
(815) 625-0400
Emergency Service: Yes

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Sterling High Schools

1608 4TH AVE
Serves 1,114 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 19.9

Sterling Colleges

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