Moving to Modesto, California

Moving to Modesto, California

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    Moving to Modesto, California, is a dream of many, but it needs a lot of planning and preparation. Read the blog post for a hassle-free transition and living in the “City of Great Neighbors,” 

    Modesto is situated in the Central Valley, between Sacramento and Fresno. It is the 145th largest metro area in the US. It was founded in 1870 as a village. Modesto originated when the Central Pacific Railroad bought one square mile of land for sale. Though the city has developed since its existence, it still has its original town layout.

    The city is highly famous for its agriculture industry and the production of almonds, walnuts, and dairy products. It also has the world`s largest winery, the E. & J. Gallo Winery, which produces wine bottles. It is also home to the Gallo Center for the Arts, which conducts various performances and events.

    Before moving to Modesto, CA, let’s dive into the blog post to learn more.

    Quick facts before moving to Modesto, California

    Where is Modesto, CA, located?

    Modesto, CA, is located in the Central Valley, approximately 68 miles south of Sacramento and 90 miles north of Fresno. Additionally, it is 92 miles east of San Francisco and part of the Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto Combined Statistical Area.

    Population in Modesto, CA

    According to the World Population Review, the population of Modesto, California, is 219,396 as of 2023.

    Diversity in Modesto, CA

    Modesto, California, has a diverse population, with the largest ethnic groups being White (Non-Hispanic) at 41.4%, Hispanic at 42.0%, and Asian at 7.4%.

    Cost of living in Modesto, CA

    Modesto, CA, has a cost of living slightly higher than the national average, with a cost of living index of 116.3, surpassing the U.S. average by 16.3%.

    • Housing expenses in Modesto are notably elevated, being 33% more expensive than the U.S. average, followed by utility costs at 41% higher, food costs in Modesto at 13.3% higher, and transportation costs at 6% higher.
    • The average cost of living in Modesto, California, is $2086 per month.
    • Modesto’s median household income is $73,375 annually, while the average annual household income is $89,167.
    • For a comfortable life in Modesto, CA, a recommended minimum yearly income is $74,880 for a family and $44,400 for a single person. 
    Cost of Living FactorsIndex Value
    Overall Cost of Living116.3
    Housing33% higher than the U.S. average
    Utilities41% higher than the U.S. average
    Food6% higher than the U.S. average
    Healthcare5% lower than the U.S. average
    Transportation27% higher than the U.S. average

    Housing market in Modesto, CA

    Modesto, CA, homes are in high demand, often selling within approximately 16 days. Securing a rental or real estate property before moving to Modesto, CA, is recommended.

    • The average home value in Modesto is $428,187, and the median sale price of homes was $460,000 last month, reflecting a 12.2% increase since the previous year.
    • The median list price for homes in Modesto was $422,450 in 2023, with a corresponding median sale price of $460,000.
    • The median list price per square foot in Modesto was $281.
    • The homeownership rate in Modesto is 59.5%, indicating that over half of the homes are owned by the residents.

    Average rent in Modesto, CA

    The average rent for apartments in Modesto, CA, is $1,659 monthly.

    • Studio apartments in Modesto have an average rent of $1,094.
    • For 1-bedroom apartments, the average rent is $1,050.
    • 2-bedroom apartments in Modesto have an average rent of $1,710.
    • The average rent for 3-bedroom houses in Modesto is $2,243.
    • average rent for 4-bedroom homes in Modesto can be up to $5,500.

    Job market in Modesto, CA

    • Modesto, California, has experienced a 0.6% job market increase in the past year, with a predicted 31.7% growth over the next decade, slightly below the national average.
    • The city’s economy revolves around agriculture, with significant food and beverage processing employment.
    • Healthcare and social services also contribute to job counts, ranking Modesto #33 for job creation and sustainability among the largest US cities.
    • The average salary in Modesto is $64,013 annually, with top earners making $100,016 and the 25th percentile earning $47,772 per year.
    • Modesto Metropolitan Statistical Area workers earn an average hourly wage of $28.58, slightly below the nationwide average.
    • the unemployment rate is 6.50%, lower than the long-term average of 11.29%, although there has been a slight increase to 6.8% in 2023.

    What are the top employers in Modesto, CA

    • E. & J. Gallo Winery
    • Memorial Medical Center
    • Modesto City Schools
    • Doctors Medical Center
    • Kaiser Permanente
    • Stanislaus County
    • Del Monte Foods
    • Frito-Lay
    • Pacific Southwest Container
    • Save Mart Supermarkets

    Most typical job titles in Modesto, CA

    • Cashier
    • Sales Associate
    • Machine Operator
    • Assistant
    • Material Handler
    • Sales Person
    • Sales Manager
    • Sales Consultant
    • Specialist
    • Operations Manager

    Highest paying jobs in Modesto, CA

    • Anesthesiologist
    • Box Truck Owner Operator
    • School Psychologist
    • Respiratory Therapist
    • Staff Physician
    • Internist
    • General Pediatrician
    • Ob/GYN Physician
    • Chief Executive Officer
    • General Internist

    Is it safe to live in Modesto, CA?

    Modesto, California, has a crime rate significantly higher than the national average, ranking in the bottom 10% of U.S. cities reporting crime. Therefore, finding a safe neighborhood to live with your family before moving to Modesto, CA, is advisable.

    The violent crime rate is 762 per 100,000 people, resulting in a 1 in 132 chance of being a victim, or 1 in 135.

    Property crime is also common, with a rate of 2,403 per 100,000 people, leading to a 1 in 37 chance of being a victim.

    Safest neighborhoods in Modesto, CA

    • Kodiak Village / Hacienda Del Sol
    • Parklawn / Olympic
    • Palisades / Orleans Estates
    • Regency Park / Dutch Hollow
    • Diablo Hills / Symphony Place
    • Springcreek / Lincoln Estates
    • Tuscany / Rose Hollow
    • Village Highlands / Millbrook Estates
    • Coffee-Sylvan
    • Shackelford
    • Bret Harte
    • Village One and Orchard Park

    How fast can you commute in Modesto, CA?

    Modesto, CA, has an average one-way commute time of around 29.6 minutes, though some sources suggest variations like 31.4 minutes and 27.3 minutes.

    The majority of Modesto residents commute by driving alone to work.

    List available public transportation in Modesto, CA

    • Modesto Area Express (MAX) operates local buses on fixed routes in Modesto and offers an Express Commuter Service to the ACE train.
    • Stanislaus Regional Transit (StaRT) is a bus service throughout Stanislaus County, including Modesto.
    • Amtrak serves Modesto through the San Joaquin line, providing rail service to various destinations.
    • Shuttle Services in Modesto include luxury limousines, airport shuttles, and coachways.
    • FlixBus is a long-distance bus service offering trips to and from Modesto.
    • Charter Bus Rental services are provided by VIA Trailways in Modesto.

    How is the weather in Modesto, CA?

    Modesto, CA, has two main seasons: a hot one from June to September with daily highs above 87°F and a cool one from November to February with daily highs below 62°F.

    • Modesto falls under a cold, semi-arid climate and a hot-summer Mediterranean climate. Winters are cool to mild with moderate rainfall, while summers are hot and dry.
    • Modesto gets most of its rain in winter, with an annual total of around 13.2 inches and rare snowfall. 
    • Modesto has numerous sunny days and is known for clear skies, especially in the summer.
    • July is the hottest month in Modesto, with an average high of 95°F and a low of 64°F.
    • December is the coldest month in Modesto, with an average low of 40°F and a high of 56°F.
    • The best time to visit Modesto, CA, is summer, from March to May.

    Education system in Modesto, CA

    Modesto, California, is ranked the 5th least educated among 150 U.S. cities, with specific rankings for bachelor and graduate-level holders and high school graduates.

    Modesto City Schools district includes 22 elementary schools, four middle schools, nine high schools, and an alternative education program.

    The Modesto City Elementary School District has a student-teacher ratio of 22 to 1.

    Public high schools in Modesto have 46,339 students and 2,026 teachers, resulting in a student-teacher ratio of 23 to 1.

    Best middle schools in Modesto, CA

    • Daniel J. Savage Middle School
    • Elizabeth Ustach Middle School
    • Prescott Junior High

    Best elementary schools in Modesto, CA

    • Sonoma Elementary School
    • Lakewood Elementary School
    • Daniel J. Savage Middle School

    Best High Schools in Modesto, CA

    • James C. Enochs High School
    • Joseph A. Gregori High School
    • Whitmore Charter High School

    Best universities and colleges in Modesto, CA

    What are the best things to do in Modesto, CA?

    The best things to see in Modesto, CA, are:

    • Explore the Victorian charm of McHenry Mansion through guided tours of this beautifully restored historic home.
    • Catch a game at John Thurman Field, home to the Modesto Nuts, a minor-league baseball team.
    • Immerse yourself in the arts at the Gallo Center for the Arts, hosting diverse music, dance, and theater performances.
    • Have family fun at Boomers Modesto, a center with mini-golf, go-karts, and arcade games.
    • Experience cinematic history at The State Theatre, showcasing independent and foreign films in a historical setting.
    • Learn about local history at McHenry Museum, housed in a historic building.
    • Explore fresh produce and more at Modesto Certified Farmer’s Market, a pioneer of the Farm-To-Table philosophy.
    • Join the festivities of Graffiti Summer, an annual event celebrating Modesto’s connection to the film “American Graffiti.”
    • Admire classic cars at the Graffiti Car Museum, which is dedicated to preserving the spirit of “American Graffiti.”
    • Experience the world of wine at E and J Gallo Winery, one of the largest wineries globally, offering tastings and tours.

    Best neighborhoods in Modesto, CA

    The best places to live in Modesto, California, are:

    • Coffee-Sylvan
    • Northeast Modesto
    • Northwest Modesto
    • Del Rio
    • Dutch Hollow
    • La Loma
    • Village One
    • College
    • Sherwood Forest
    • Orchard Park

    Pros and cons of living in Modesto, CA

    The pros and cons of living in Modesto, CA, are as follows:

    Pros of living in ModestoCons of living in Modesto
    Lower cost of livingHigh crime rate
    Cheaper housingBelow-average school system
    Central locationLimited public transportation
    Religious communityLimited entertainment and nightlife
    Commutable to other urban hubsHigh poverty rate


    If you have decided to move to California, wander no other than the fantastic city of Modesto. It has an 18% lower cost of living than the state average. The town is filled with tons of attractions and recreational opportunities. Modesto, CA, offers many job opportunities because of the winery industry, which is the crucial reason for attracting newcomers.

    Photo Credit: Wayne Hsieh