12 Pros and Cons of Living in Modesto, CA

Updated On November 7, 2023

Modesto is a city in California, located in Stanislaus County, and is the 19th largest city in California.

The city is surrounded by rich farmland and is home to the Gallo Family Winery, the largest family-owned winery in the United States.

Knowing the good and bad things about living in Modesto if you’re considering moving there is essential to make a well-informed decision.

Modesto, CA
Modesto, CA

Pros of Living in Modesto, California

There are several good things about living in Modesto, and some of these reasons can help you decide that it is the best place for your family to live.

1. Low Cost of Living

One of the best benefits of living in Modesto is that it’s an affordable place to live.

Like most cities and towns in California, the cost of living is higher than in the rest of the country.

Still, Modesto is only 13.7 percent higher than the national average, which is low because we’re talking about a California city where the cost of living is much higher than the rest of the country.

Modesto is an excellent choice if you’re looking for an inexpensive place to live in California.

You can expect to pay more for utilities in Modesto, but all other expenses are lower than California’s average.

The cost of living differs based on the neighborhood you live in, which you should consider before moving.

2. Affordable Housing

The first thing you have to consider before moving anywhere is the housing costs.

The average price of a house in California is around $700,000, which is much higher than the national average.

Fortunately, the houses in Modesto are much more affordable, and the average cost is $398,278.

This is higher than the national average but much less than homes in other parts of California.

If you aren’t ready to buy a house when you move, the rent in Modesto is cheaper than you might think.

The average cost of rent in the city is $1,446, and the national average is $1,463, so you should be able to afford rent in Modesto.

The actual cost of your rent would depend on the size of the apartment, the location, how recently the unit has been remodeled, and the amenities.

Overall, you shouldn’t have trouble finding affordable housing in Modesto.

3. Easy Access to Amenities

Modesto has many amenities close by in the city, and AreaVibes gives Modesto an A rating for its excesses.

You can walk down the street to the library and then stop at a park, coffee shop, or restaurant on your way home.

You can get what you need in one trip by taking a short ride or walking.

The city also has some great attractions, such as the McHenry Mansion, the Modesto Arch, the Gallo Center for the Arts, and many more.

4. Close Proximity to Bigger Cities

Many people working in bigger cities move to Modesto for the low cost of living and cheap housing and commute daily.

They can do this because Modesto is close enough to other bigger cities to commute.

San Francisco is 90 minutes from Modesto; the same is true with Sacramento and San Jose.

In addition, Fresno is two hours away.

Moving to Modesto means you can enjoy suburban life and still have access to jobs, events, and attractions in the bigger cities surrounding Modesto.

5. Job Opportunities

If you’re looking for a place to live where you can find a job without commuting, Modesto could be the place for you.

The city is home to many businesses with 317 to 5,000 employees, including:

  • E & J Gallo Winery
  • Memorial Medical Center
  • Modesty City Schools
  • Doctors Medical Center
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Modesto Junior College
  • City of Modesto
  • Walmart

If you move to Modesto, you should be able to find a job, regardless of your skill level.

6. The Weather

Modesto may be an excellent place to live if you’re tired of freezing, snowy winters and sweltering summer days that reach 100+ degrees.

Winters tend to be very mild, with highs in the high 50’s and 60’s and lows in the high 40’s and low 50’s.

Summers can be hot, and the average high temperature is in the low to mid-90s and lows in the mid-50s to 60s, so you won’t have to worry about it being too hot to do fun things outdoors.

Also, it rains in Modesto about 56 days a year, so you can plan outdoor activities without worrying about them getting rained out.

Cons of Living in Modesto, California

No city is perfect, and each has its issues, Modesto included.

There are some downsides to living in Modesto, and it’s best to know them before you decide to move because some of the downsides could be deal breakers.

1. High Crime Rate

Modesto might not be the right place for you if a high crime rate is a deal breaker.

The city has a high crime rate, and it’s 66 percent higher than the national average.

Also, the property crime rate is 57 percent higher than the national average.

Sadly, violent crimes aren’t uncommon in Modesto, and the violent crime rate is 144 percent higher than the national average.

If you decide to move to Modesto, there is a 1 in 25 chance that you’ll be a victim of crime at one point or another.

These statistics may be enough to scare you off, but you must understand that the crime rate isn’t as high in the entire city, and there are safe communities and neighborhoods with much lower crime rates.

Modesto is safer than 6 percent of cities in the US, and if you find the right neighborhood, you can feel safe.

2. The Economy

The economy in Modesto could be better, and the unemployment rate in the city is relatively high.

As of June 2021, the unemployment rate was 8.5 percent, and the national average at that time was 5.9 percent, which is much lower.

California is one of the most expensive states to live in, and some people and families need to make more money to live in Modesto, resulting in a high poverty rate of 15.2 percent, so the city isn’t the richest.

3. High Tax Rates

Every state requires you to pay taxes, and California has one of the highest tax rates in the country.

Modesto has one of the lowest tax rates in California, but they are still much higher than the national average.

Residents must pay a state income tax of 9.3 percent and a sales tax of 7.88 percent.

Property taxes in Modesto are very high, at around 1.107 percent.

When you consider the amount of money you’ll have to pay in taxes; you’ll see that you’ll end up paying a large amount of your income on taxes.

4. The School System Is Below Average

Knowing about the school system is essential if you’re moving with children.

Like any parent, you want your child to get the best education, and your children may not get that in some of Modesto’s public schools.

The average standardized test results of students in Modesto schools are lower than in other parts of the state and the national average.

The school system has work to do to become a top-rated school system, and some schools are considered better than others.

If you have your heart set on moving to Modesto, you can always send your children to private schools to ensure they receive a quality education.

5. You’ll Have Access to the Best Donuts on the West Coast

Modesto is the place for you if you have a sweet tooth and often crave donuts.

Mr. T’s Delicate Donut Shop is very popular with the locals, and residents say that the donuts are much better than the famous Voodoo Doughnuts further up the West Coast, and if you try the donuts, you’ll see that they’re right.

6. Modesto Is a Great Place If You Love to Party

As mentioned above, Modesto is home to the largest family-owned winery, and the city is known for partying.

Modesto hosts events like X-fest that involve consuming large amounts of alcohol.

In August 2010, Men’s Health magazine listed Modesto as the 12th drunkest city in America.

If you love to drink, you’ll love living in Modesto.

Modesto, CA
Modesto, CA

Pros and Cons of Living in Modesto, CA – Summary Table

Pros of Living in Modesto, CaliforniaCons of Living in Modesto, California
1. Low Cost of Living1. High Crime Rate
2. Affordable Housing2. The Economy
3. Easy Access to Amenities3. High Tax Rates
4. Close Proximity to Bigger Cities4. The School System Is Below Average
5. Job Opportunities5. You'll Have Access to the Best Donuts on the West Coast
6. The Weather6. Modesto Is a Great Place If You Love to Party

Modesto Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Modesto Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Modesto considered a religious city?

Yes, Modesto is a religious city, and 40 percent of the population identifies as religious.

Many religious people are Evangelicals, which is why this part of California is known as the Bible Belt.

If you aren’t a religious person, don’t worry.

The people who live in Modesto come from various backgrounds and political views, so you’ll still fit in if you aren’t the most spiritual person.

Does Modesto have public transportation?

Yes, Modesto has a public transportation system that runs seven days a week.

The buses take you around Modesto and other parts of Stanislaus County.

Are there fun things to do in Modesto?

Some people think you have to leave Modesto and head to one of the larger cities nearby to find something fun to do, but this isn’t the case.

Modesto is home to many fun things for adults and families, including:

  • Scavenger hunts put on by 3Quest Challenge
  • Modesto Video Game and E-Sport Lounge
  • Gallo Center for the Arts
  • John Thurman Field
  • The State Theater
  • Great Valley Museum
  • Boomers Modesto Amusement and Theme Park
  • Modesto Histor5ic Graffiti Cruise Route
  • Tuolumne River Trail
  • and many more

What are the safest neighborhoods in Modesto?

As mentioned above, Modesto has a high crime rate, but there are safe neighborhoods where you don’t have to worry as much about crime.

The safest neighborhoods include:

  • Springcreek / Lincoln Estates
  • Salida South
  • Diablo Hills / Symphony Place
  • Monterey Park Tract
  • Regency Park / Dutch Hollow
  • Kodiak Village / Hacienda Del Sol
  • Palisades / Orleans Estates

If you are moving to Modesto and want to feel safe, you should look for homes in the neighborhoods listed above.

What is the best way to get around in Modesto?

Although Modesto has public transportation, most residents get around in vehicles.

Residents who drive say it’s much easier than taking public transit because they can get to their destinations quickly without waiting for a bus.

3 Comments on 12 Pros and Cons of Living in Modesto, CA

  1. Modesto has become a rich-only place unfortunately, the cost of living here is just not worth it, the government and their taxes are insane, you get nothing by living in California but pay more taxes than anywhere else. California government are crooks.

    1. L
      Leilani Hagberg says:

      beautiful weather, diverse population and restaurant choices, fruit and olives and nuts and artichokes and grapes,peaches,apricots, Meyer lemons/,oranges from backyards and surrounding farms plus low water rates make it tolerable for non crazy dudes. camelias and lotus and on te pacific flyway directly and fishing easy close by or skiing close by , but rot in non regulated Texas

  2. Modesto, CA offers affordable living and easy access to amenities, but it has a high crime rate and below-average school system.

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