The 10 Worst Modesto Suburbs For 2023

We used data and Friday Night Science to identify the worst suburbs of Modesto for 2023. The worst Modesto suburbs are Livingston and Atwater.

The suburbs of Modesto call to all types of people looking to escape city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Modesto to avoid all the hustle and bustle.

So the question arises: do the suburbs maintain a semblance of the larger-than-life appeal of their more famous neighbor?

Today, we’ll use Saturday Night Science to determine which Modesto ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Modesto area if you will. Realistically, you can only expect some of the suburbs to live up to Modesto proper, although Ripon certainly tries.

Of course, not all suburbs of Modesto are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones.

We examined the 17 biggest suburbs of Modesto to find out the worst places to live. And while you won’t necessarily find them on the worst places to live in California lists, these ten places are a little too far downwind of Modesto in terms of quality of life.

The 10 worst suburbs around Modesto for 2023

  1. Livingston
  2. Atwater
  3. Gustine
  4. Waterford
  5. Ceres
  6. Stockton
  7. Newman
  8. Turlock
  9. Lathrop
  10. Hughson

Now don’t freak out.

What’s the worst suburb of Modesto? Livingston ranks as the worst suburb of Modesto for 2023 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.

Read on to see how we determined the places around Modesto that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don’t blame the messenger.

Or, if you’re thinking of moving to elsewhere in California check out the best places in California overall or the worst.

And remember, there are some good places to live around Modesto too.

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Methodology | Summary | Table

For more California reading, check out:

The 10 Worst Modesto Suburbs To Live For 2023

Livingston, CA

Source: Wikipedia User Publichall | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 14,078
Median Income: $68,958 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.1% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $242,400 (lowest)
More on Livingston:

We’ll get the ball rolling with Livingston, the absolute worst place to live around Modesto according to the data.

And in the world of worst rankings, Livingston beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 7th worst in the Modesto area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks worst when it comes to home values.

But hey, at least it’s cheap to live there. But there’s a reason for that… it’s Livingston.

You won’t feel bad about not having a great income for the area. There aren’t a bunch of places to spend your money anyway.

Atwater, CA

Source: Wikipedia User Father of Nehrams2020 | GFDL
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 31,401
Median Income: $59,436 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.7% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $265,200 (2nd lowest)
More on Atwater:

Welcome to Atwater. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.

This city is 29.6 miles to Modesto. Income levels here are the 2nd lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $59,436 a year, which only goes so far even on a shoestring budget.

But on the bright side, there are a lot of fast food joints in the area.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,990
Median Income: $51,376 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 16.9% (highest)
Median Home Value: $322,300 (6th lowest)
More on Gustine:

Back up the highway we go for the third worst Modesto suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Gustine on here. While the cost of living is low, your entertainment and work options are limited. And that’s an understatement.

In terms of numbers, it’s in the worst 15% for insurance, and the adult high school dropout rate is poor compared to other Modesto suburbs.

But at least there are lovely parks to bring the kids during the day.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 9,100
Median Income: $70,774 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.5% (12th highest)
Median Home Value: $298,000 (4th lowest)
More on Waterford:

If you live in Waterford, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 8th lowest Modesto suburb for median household incomes.

Not only that, but this is the 12th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Modesto. Remember, we looked at 17 cities for this study.

Waterford is about 13.6 miles to downtown.

Ceres, CA

Source: Wikipedia User Ryanx7 | CC BY-SA 4.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 49,132
Median Income: $64,153 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.8% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $305,000 (5th lowest)
More on Ceres:

Ceres has the distinction of being a Modesto suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.

All snarkiness aside, Ceres has the 5th lowest home values in the metro Modesto area, where the median price is $305,000. The median income is $102,633.

Ceres has an unemployment rate of 10.75% which ranks 5th worst.

Stockton, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 317,818
Median Income: $63,916 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.0% (10th highest)
Median Home Value: $324,600 (7th lowest)
More on Stockton:

Stockton has 317,818 residents that probably know it’s a pretty crummy place to live when you look at the data. (Or, if you’ve ever been there, you don’t need to look at the data.)

Incomes are towards the bottom, and the poverty rate sits at 16.321064011343296%.

Newman, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 12,154
Median Income: $76,895 (11th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.0% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $297,000 (3rd lowest)
More on Newman:

Ah, Newman. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Modesto.

It’s the place with the 4th most out of work residents in the Modesto metro area (10.97%).

Turlock, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 72,494
Median Income: $66,646 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.3% (9th highest)
Median Home Value: $345,200 (10th lowest)
More on Turlock:

Turlock is a city about 12.1 miles from Modesto, but Modesto probably wishes it was further away. It ranks as the 8th worst burb for 2018.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a worse place to live. Turlock has the 8th most uninsured people, 5th worst incomes, and has the 9th highest unemployment rate (8.25%) in the entire Modesto metro area.

Homes only cost $345,200 for a reason. That’s cheap for Modesto standards.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 28,078
Median Income: $99,632 (15th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.5% (7th highest)
Median Home Value: $430,800 (14th lowest)
More on Lathrop:

If you absolutely have to live near Modesto, then Lathrop might be a place for you to consider as it’s only the 9th worst Modesto suburb.

About 9.51% of residents are out of work.

Hughson, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,425
Median Income: $89,256 (14th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.9% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $342,200 (8th lowest)
More on Hughson:

Rounding out the ten worst Modesto suburbs to call home is Hughson.

Located 7.9 miles outside the city, Hughsons is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 2nd highest unemployment rate (11.85%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Modesto for 2023

To figure out how bad a Modesto suburb is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what suburbs have the least amount of those things.

It’s Saturday Night Science.

We threw a lot of criteria at this one to get the best, most complete results possible. Using the most recent American Community Survey data from 2017-2021, this is the criteria we used:

  • High unemployment rate
  • Low median household incomes
  • Low population density (no things to do)
  • Low home values
  • A lot of high school dropouts
  • High poverty
  • High rate of uninsured families

We defined a suburb as any town within 30 miles of Modesto.

We also limited the analysis to places with over 5,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 17 suburbs to evaluate around Modesto.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 17 in each category, where 1 was the “worst.”

Next, we averaged the rankings for each place to create a quality-of-life index.

And finally, we crowned the city with the worst quality of life index, the “Worst Suburb near Modesto.” We’re looking at you, Livingston.

We updated this article for 2023, which reflects our tenth time ranking the worst suburbs around Modesto.

Summary: The areas around Modesto where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2023

Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Modesto with Livingston casting itself ahead of the pack.

As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Modesto aren’t all bad. Ripon takes the cake as the best place to live around Modesto.

  • Ripon
  • Tracy
  • Manteca

For more California reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Modesto Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Livingston 14,078 $68,958 $242,400
2 Atwater 31,401 $59,436 $265,200
3 Gustine 5,990 $51,376 $322,300
4 Waterford 9,100 $70,774 $298,000
5 Ceres 49,132 $64,153 $305,000
6 Stockton 317,818 $63,916 $324,600
7 Newman 12,154 $76,895 $297,000
8 Turlock 72,494 $66,646 $345,200
9 Lathrop 28,078 $99,632 $430,800
10 Hughson 7,425 $89,256 $342,200
11 Oakdale 23,016 $72,479 $354,400
12 Riverbank 24,714 $75,216 $343,300
13 Patterson 23,517 $82,979 $350,300
14 Escalon 7,458 $67,176 $418,500
15 Manteca 82,408 $82,538 $432,100
16 Tracy 92,792 $102,336 $508,500
17 Ripon 15,961 $102,633 $519,700
About Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson earned his masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School At Claremont Graduate University. He has written for 39 publications across the country and ran the media relations department at Movoto, a real estate portal based in San Francisco. He has been featured in over 500 publications as an expert in real estate and as an authority on real estate trends.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 260,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.

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