What's it like to live in Stockton, CA?

Katie Shoneff

Profile written by local expert:

Katie Shoneff

Home to more than 300,000 residents, Stockton, California, has a diverse community and access to everything from Japanese grocery stores to the first Sikh temple in the U.S. Stockton's relatively low cost of living compared to other California metro areas draws many new residents, but it's not uncommon to spot a familiar face along its popular restaurant and retail district, the Miracle Mile.

The financial crisis caused Stockton to declare bankruptcy and sparked a rise in unemployment, but the metro area found a way to start bouncing back. The downtown area's revitalization breathed new life into the town with refurbishment of entertainment and recreational options, including arts and nightlife venues.

Centrally located in Northern California, Stockton is surrounded by vineyards and farms that help put local organic produce on dinner tables. Residents are within easy reach of San Francisco, Sacramento and San Jose, which greatly expands job prospects.

See all the best places to live in California.


U.S. News analyzed 125 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.

Stockton, California is ranked:

#123 in Best Places to Live

#125 in Best Places to Retire

#11 in Best Places to Live in California

#12 in Most Expensive Places to Live

#21 in Most Dangerous Places




Best Places to Live

  • Desirability
  • Value
  • Job Market
  • Quality of Life
  • Net Migration

Read how we rank places

Stockton, CA Quick Stats

  • 724,153

    Metro Population

  • $46,770

    Average Annual Salary

  • 74.3° / 48.3°

    Avg High/Low Temps

  • 33.9

    Median Age

  • $352,350

    Median Home Price

  • 14.1 inches

    AVG Annual Rainfall

  • 5.9%

    Unemployment Rate

  • $1,100

    Median Monthly Rent

  • 32.0 minutes

    Avg Commute Time

What is there to do in Stockton, CA?

Stockton's arts and entertainment sector is vastly growing, and the historic Bob Hope Theatre has paved the way for nightly entertainment in the heart of downtown. Art lovers enjoy frequenting the Haggin Museum, which houses works by 19th and 20th century American and European artists, and the Stockmarket, where local artists sell their work amid live music and street food carts.

Meanwhile, Stockton offers opportunities to enjoy its warm, sunny weather. California's Delta waterway runs right through Stockton, making it a premier location for boating and water sports. Stockton also boasts several golf courses and more than 60 parks, and it's about two hours from major beaches (Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay) and ski resorts (Kirkwood and Bear Valley).

Sports fans can catch minor league baseball games at Banner Island Ballpark, home of the Stockton Ports. They can also cheer on the Stockton Heat professional hockey team and the Division I Pacific Tigers basketball team.

What's the cost of living in Stockton, CA?

Though home values are on the rise, Stockton residents can expect to pay much less for a home than they would in the Bay Area, and monthly rents are significantly more reasonable here than in San Francisco or San Jose. However, the cost of living in Stockton is still noticeably higher than the national average. Residents generally pay more for everyday expenses, such as groceries, utilities and transit.

Value Index

Index Score: 4.7 /10

How we calculate this.

Stockton offer a lower value than similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income.

Housing Costs 2018



Housing Costs Over Time

Data sourced from Zillow median home sale price data series. Additional data provided by the Austin Board of Realtors, Houston Association of Realtors, Intermountain MLS, Omaha Area Board of Realtors, San Antonio Board of Realtors, and the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

Buying or selling a home? Find top real estate agents in Stockton, CA.

What's the weather like in Stockton, CA?

Stockton experiences all four seasons. Summer temperatures can reach triple digits, and winters are relatively mild.

Seasonal Temperature (Avgs)









Seasonal Rainfall (Avgs)

2.7 in


2.2 in


0.1 in


1.7 in


Monthly High and Low Temperatures (°F)

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center.

What's the best way to get around Stockton, CA?

Stockton residents rely heavily on their cars. Main roadways include Interstate 5 and Highway 99, which both run north and south and connect to Fresno, Los Angeles and Sacramento.  

The San Joaquin Regional Transit District, or RTD, operates several dozen bus routes within San Joaquin County, transporting commuters around Stockton proper and to nearby communities like Lodi. The bus system also connects with the Bay Area Rapid Transit system, which services San Francisco, and transports riders to Sacramento.

The small Stockton Metropolitan Airport offers direct flights to Las VegasPhoenix and San Diego on Allegiant Air, while San Francisco International Airport is an hour and a half away by car (Sacramento International Airport is only an hour's drive). Amtrak is also stationed in Stockton, and charter bus transit is available.

Commuting in Stockton, CA

Means of Transportation
Above national average

Equal to national average

Equal to national average

Public Transit
Below national average
Average Commute Time

32.0 minutes

5.6 minutes more than national average

Average Commute Times by Zip Code

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Who lives in Stockton, CA?

More than a quarter of the metro area's residents were born in another country, and Stockton's culture is reflective of the melting pot of people who work, live and play in and around the area. The area is home to numerous Mexican shops and restaurants, while two blocks of Washington Street in downtown comprise Stockton's Chinatown.

Nearly 45 percent of the population of Stockton affiliates with some sort of religion, with Catholicism being the most heavily represented faith.

Age Distribution

Marital Status Breakdown

About the same number of single people in Stockton as national average

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.