Pros and cons of living in Modesto, California

Are you planning to move to Modesto, California? Then you should know what it’s like to live in this agricultural city. So, what’re the pros and cons of living in Modesto?

Living in Modesto comes with several benefits. This city has several qualities such as low cost of living, affordable housing, access to amenities, and proximity to major cities. But you should be aware of the disadvantages too. They include high crime rates, a poor economy, and high taxes rates.

Before making your decision to move to Modesto, you need more information about the city. As the county seat and biggest city in Stanislaus County, it’s a major agricultural center for California. This article thoroughly explains all the pros and cons of living in Modesto.

Pros of living in Modesto

If you’re planning to move to Modesto, here are the benefits of living in the city.

1. Low Cost of Living

Living in Modesto means a relatively affordable cost of living. Of course, like most California cities, the cost of living in Modesto is higher than the national average. But this time around, it’s only by 13.7%, which is pretty low, especially compared to the California average.

So, if you’re looking for a cheap place to live in California, you can consider living here. Utilities are pretty expensive here, but beyond that, most of your expenses will be below the California average. The cost of living differs among neighborhoods within the city.

2. Affordable Housing

Another thing that influences the decision on where to live is real estate. In California, real estate prices are going through the roof, with the average price of a house over $700,000. But Modesto might be a great place to buy a house if you’re interested in owning one. It costs an average of $398,278 to own a home here. This is still higher than the national average, but it’s cheap for a place like California.

Rent in the city is also relatively low. It costs an average of  $1,446 to get an apartment in the city. Compared to this, California’s average cost of rent is $1,488, and in 2020, the average national rent was $1,463. So, even if the difference is not so substantial, it exists, and when you add it up, you’ll be paying much less to rent an apartment here than in most cities its size in California.

3. Access to Amenities

AreaVibes gives Modesto an A rating for its amenities. This suggests that there are several amenities close to the city. In addition, you’ll find easily find local amenities such as libraries, parks, shops, restaurants, coffee shops, etc. If you want to move here, the ample amenities might be a draw for you as all you’ll need is a short drive or walk to get what you need.

Beyond amenities, there are some exciting things to do in the city too. Attractions here include Modesto Arch, McHenry Mansion, Gallo Center for the Arts, etc.

4. Proximity to Bigger Cities

Another big plus for the city is its location. Modesto has a somewhat central location that makes it close to other major cities. For example, San Francisco is about 90 minutes away, and many people who work there live in Modesto. Fresno is less than 2 hours away; Sacramento and San Jose are around 90 minutes away. With all these places close to it, Modesto is more or less a sleeper community for the bigger cities. Its proximity means you can easily visit any of these cities. Not just for work, but to also enjoy other opportunities that are present in the bigger cities. So, if you’re someone who wants to enjoy the quietness of a suburban town with access to the big cities, you should consider living in Modesto.

Cons of Living in Modesto

Every city has its issues. But, for residents of Modesto, there are certain things you need to prepare for.

1. High Crime Rate

The high crime rate in the city is a problem. But, unfortunately, if you’re planning to live here, it’s something you have to contend with. The total crime rate is 66% above the national average, and property crime is 57% higher. With such a high rate of crime, you’ll need to be selective when picking neighborhoods.

Violent crimes are more prevalent in the city, with the rate being 144% higher than the national average. Living in Modesto means there is a 1 in 25 chance that you’ll be a crime victim.

While these numbers might seem worrying, crime in the city isn’t a general occurrence. There are safe communities in the town, and you can simply choose to live in one. Still, the city is safer than 6% of US cities.

2. Economy

The economy in Modesto isn’t one of the best in the city. This city is an agricultural city, and there are not so many opportunities for residents. It explains why many of those who live there work in other cities. The unemployment rate is relatively high in the city. In June 2021, it was 8.5 compared to the national unemployment rate of 5.9. The income per capita here is also lower than the national average as well as the California average. Considering that it’s more expensive to live in California than most other states, the income isn’t enough for most households, resulting in a high poverty rate. Its poverty rate is 15.2% which suggests that the city isn’t exactly a rich one.

3. High Tax Rates

Living in California usually means paying high taxes. From the state income tax to property taxes, there are many ways you’ll pay back what you earn to the government. Apart from the state income tax, which has an average of 9.3%, there are still other taxes to pay when living in Modesto.  While Modesto has one of the lowest tax rates in the state, with sales tax being 7.88%, the property tax for Stanislaus County is quite high at around 1.107%. When you add up all the taxes, you might find yourself paying a fortune considering the low level of income in the city.

In Conclusion

No city is perfect, and if there’s any, it’s not Modesto. It has its disadvantages, but there are several benefits too. It’s for you to decide whether any of its cons is a deal-breaker or you can adapt to it.