These Are The 10 Worst Modesto Suburbs For 2018

We used science and data to determine which Modesto suburbs are the real pits.

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Not everyone is cut out for city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Modesto.

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 science and data to determine which Modesto ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Modesto area if you will. Realistically, you can’t expect all 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. So without further ado…

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.

Here are the 10 worst suburbs around Modesto for 2018:

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

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.

Editor’s Note: If you see a slight difference between the worst in state rankings and this suburb ranking, it’s because of the methodology. We needed a way to include more places, so we eliminated crime and commute times as criteria for this analysis.

For more California reading, check out:

Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Modesto for 2018

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

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using the most recent American Community Survey data, 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 drop outs
  • High poverty
  • High rate of uninsured families

FYI: We defined a suburb as being within 30 miles of Modesto.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have 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 lookin’ at you, Waterford.

Read on below to learn more about what it’s like to live in the worst of the worst. Or skip to the end to see the list of all the suburbs ranked from worst to best.

1. Waterford

Population: 8,708
Unemployment Rate: 20.7%
Median Home Price: $168,700
Median Income: $49,500
More on Waterford: Data | Jobs

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

And in the world of worst rankings, Waterford beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 4th worst in the Modesto area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 4th 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 Waterford.

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.

2. Gustine

Population: 5,684
Unemployment Rate: 18.9%
Median Home Price: $151,900
Median Income: $37,770
More on Gustine: Data | Jobs

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

This city is 26.4 miles to Modesto. Income levels here are the 1st lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $37,770 a year, which doesn’t go a long ways even on a shoestring budget.

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

3. Atwater

Atwater, California

Population: 28,906
Unemployment Rate: 13.7%
Median Home Price: $160,200
Median Income: $45,800
More on Atwater: Data | Jobs

Back up the highway we go for the third worst Modesto suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Atwater 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 drop out rate is poor compared to other Modesto suburbs.

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

4. Newman

Newman, California

Source: Public domain

Population: 10,808
Unemployment Rate: 18.6%
Median Home Price: $159,600
Median Income: $51,455
More on Newman: Data | Jobs

If you live in Newman, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 6th lowest Modesto suburb when it comes to residents making money.

Not only that, but this is the 3rd worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Modesto. Remember, we looked at 17 cities for this study.

Newman is about 22.2 miles to downtown.

5. Patterson

Patterson, California

Source: Public domain

Population: 21,205
Unemployment Rate: 13.9%
Median Home Price: $216,500
Median Income: $54,195
More on Patterson: Data | Jobs

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

All snarkiness aside, Patterson has the 8th lowest home values in the metro Modesto area, where the median price is $216,500. To put that into perspective, in Ripon, the median income is $81,022, which is the best in the area.

Patterson has an unemployment rate of 13.9% which ranks 5th worst.

6. Livingston

Livingston, California

Population: 13,703
Unemployment Rate: 11.8%
Median Home Price: $173,100
Median Income: $55,226
More on Livingston: Data | Jobs

Livingston has 13,703 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 18.7%.

7. Stockton

Stockton, California

Source: Public domain

Population: 301,443
Unemployment Rate: 13.8%
Median Home Price: $191,000
Median Income: $46,033
More on Stockton: Data | Jobs

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

It’s the place with the 6th most out of work residents in the Modesto metro area (13.8%).

8. Ceres

Ceres, California

Population: 47,231
Unemployment Rate: 14.6%
Median Home Price: $180,200
Median Income: $49,518
More on Ceres: Data | Jobs

Ceres is a city about 3.7 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. Ceres has the 9th most uninsured people, 5th worst incomes, and has the 4th highest unemployment rate (14.6%) in the entire Modesto metro area.

Homes only cost $180,200 for a reason. That’s cheap for Modesto standards.

9. Lathrop

Population: 20,331
Unemployment Rate: 10.9%
Median Home Price: $250,400
Median Income: $65,699
More on Lathrop: Data | Jobs

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 10.9% of residents are out of work.

10. Turlock

Turlock, California

Source: Public domain

Population: 71,166
Unemployment Rate: 11.2%
Median Home Price: $238,800
Median Income: $51,555
More on Turlock: Data | Jobs

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

Located 12.1 miles outside the city, Turlocks is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 13th highest unemployment rate (11.2%), and poverty is far above the area average.

The areas around Modesto where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2018

Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Modesto with Waterford 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.

For more California reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Modesto Suburbs

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Median Home Price Median Income
1 Waterford 8,708 20.7% $168,700 $49,500
2 Gustine 5,684 18.9% $151,900 $37,770
3 Atwater 28,906 13.7% $160,200 $45,800
4 Newman 10,808 18.6% $159,600 $51,455
5 Patterson 21,205 13.9% $216,500 $54,195
6 Livingston 13,703 11.8% $173,100 $55,226
7 Stockton 301,443 13.8% $191,000 $46,033
8 Ceres 47,231 14.6% $180,200 $49,518
9 Lathrop 20,331 10.9% $250,400 $65,699
10 Turlock 71,166 11.2% $238,800 $51,555
11 Oakdale 21,796 13.5% $251,100 $51,654
12 Hughson 7,160 11.6% $256,300 $54,352
13 Riverbank 23,761 12.0% $219,700 $61,870
14 Manteca 73,570 11.9% $274,200 $64,502
15 Escalon 7,382 2.5% $256,800 $65,258
16 Tracy 86,382 9.2% $332,300 $81,022
17 Ripon 14,971 4.9% $352,500 $79,354

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.


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