Modesto, California

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Modesto is the county seat of Stanislaus County, California. With a population of approximately 211,156 as of April 2009, Modesto ranks as the 17th largest city in the state of California.[1] Modesto is located in Northern California, 92 miles east of San Francisco, 68 miles south of the state capital of Sacramento, 90 miles north of Fresno, and 66 miles west of Yosemite National Park. Modesto, a 29-time Tree City USA honoree,[2] is surrounded by rich farmland, lending to a ranking for the county as 6th among all California counties in farm production.[3] Led by milk, almonds, chickens, cattle, and walnuts, the county grossed nearly $2.5 billion in agricultural production in 2007.

Locally, Modesto is home to the critically acclaimed Gallo Center for the Arts, Prospect Theater Project, the Modesto Nuts (a Colorado Rockies MLB affiliate) and the Amgen Tour of California. The Xclamation Festival, X-Fest, has become the city’s largest entertainment and cultural gathering, recently celebrating its 10th year. The event in 2009 had an estimated 16,000 attendees enjoy music and food on the streets of downtown Modesto. Modesto also encompasses various cultural and social diverse schools, especially Modesto High School. MHS, being the oldest school of Modesto, embodies a rigorous academic and physical curriculum for students such as the International Baccalaureate program, AVID, and more.

In February 2010, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which interviewed more than 353,000 participants and asked individuals to assess their jobs, finances, physical health, emotional state of mind and communities, ranked Modesto 161 out of the 162 cities surveyed.[4] In December 2009, Forbes ranked Modesto 48th out of 100 among "Best Bang-for-the-Buck Cities;" according to Forbes. In this ranking, Modesto ranked 8th in housing affordability and travel time but also ranked 86th in job forecast growth and 99th in foreclosures.[5] In variety of other past rankings, Modesto has scored in the top ten worst places to live due to its high cost of living, high unemployment, long commutes and high crime rate.[citation needed]

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