Modesto /məˈdɛstoʊ/ (Spanish for "modest"), officially the City of Modesto, is the county seat and largest city of Stanislaus County, California, United States. With a population of approximately 201,165 at the 2010 census, it is the 18th largest city in the state of California and forms part of the Modesto–Merced combined Statistical Area. The Modesto Census County Division, which includes the cities of Ceres and Riverbank, had a population of 312,842 as of 2010.
Modesto is located in the Central Valley, 90 miles (140 km) north of Fresno, 40 miles (64 km) north of Merced, California, 92 miles (148 km) east of San Francisco, 68 miles (109 km) south of the state capital of Sacramento, 66 miles (106 km) west of Yosemite National Park, and 24 miles (39 km) south of Stockton. Modesto has been honored as a Tree City USA numerous times. It is surrounded by rich farmland; Stanislaus County ranks sixth among California counties in farm production. Led by milk, almonds, chickens, walnuts, and corn silage, the county grossed nearly $3.1 billion in agricultural production in 2011. The farm-to-table movement plays a central role in Modesto living as in the Central Valley.
Filmmaker George Lucas, who was born in Modesto, graduated from Thomas Downey High School in 1962 and attended Modesto Junior College, immortalized the city in his award-winning 1973 film American Graffiti. Although it was not actually shot in Modesto, the film portrayed the spirit of cruising and friendship on Modesto's 10th and 11th Streets in 1962, and inspired a revival of interest in 1950s pop culture, including the TV show Happy Days and its spin-offs.
The city's annual Architectural Festival honors Modesto's history as a testing ground for mid-century modern architecture during the 1940s and '50s. Modesto's mid-century buildings have been featured four times in Museum of Modern Art publications.
In the late 1980s Modesto embarked on an update to the city's general plan pursuant to requirements of the State of California. The result was a comprehensive evaluation of alternative population and land use projections along with associated environmental impact analysis. Some of the environmental factors technically assessed were air quality, water quality, environmental noise, soil contamination and visual impacts.
Much of the soils in Modesto are classified as part of the Hanford series: (HbpA) fine sandy loam, moderately deep over silt. These soils are well-drained, moderately coarse-textured soils derived from alluvium from granitic rock. The Hanford soils are important for the production of a wide variety of irrigated orchard, field, and truck crops.
Vicinity watercourses include the Stanislaus River, the Tuolumne River and Dry Creek empties into the Tuolumne River. Area groundwater, which is the principal source of water supply in the city, has been historically impaired in a fashion that is spatially variable. Water from the nearby Modesto Resovoir is now used to augment city water. In various parts of the city and its perimeter the following water pollutants have occurred from time to time: nitrates, dibromochloromethane, volatile organics, salinity, total dissolved solids and other pesticides. Each of these contaminants is not present citywide.
The EPA rates air quality in Modesto as a 23 on a scale to 100 (higher is better), making Modesto an unhealthy place to live for those with breathing difficulties. This is based on ozone alert days and number of pollutants in the air. In May 2010, Forbes magazine, in association with the American Lung Association, indicated that Modesto was one of the top 25 most polluted cities in the U.S.
Modesto City Schools was established for students in the community in 1871. The current enrollment is approximately 32,000 students. The district operates 23 elementary schools (K-6), four junior high schools (7–8), seven comprehensive high schools (9–12), and an alternative education program that includes an opportunity and continuation school, independent study and adult evening high school. The seventh comprehensive high school, Joseph Gregori High School, was recently completed. Modesto's oldest high school, Modesto High School, also offers an International Baccalaureate program, and is the only high school in Stanislaus County accredited for this program. There are other elementary school districts within and adjacent to the limits of Modesto City Schools that feed into the high schools. They include Sylvan Union (serving the eastern portion of Modesto), Stanislaus Union and Hart-Ransom.
Stanislaus County (/ˈstænɪslɔːs/ or /ˈstænɪslɔː/) is a county located in the Central Valley of the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 514,453. The county seat is Modesto.
Stanislaus County comprises the Modesto Metropolitan Statistical Area.
The first European to see it was Gabriel Moraga in 1806. It was later named Rio Estanislao in honor of Estanislao, a mission-educated renegade Native American chief who led a band of Native Americans in a series of battles against Mexican troops until finally being defeated by General Mariano Vallejo in 1826. Estanislao was his baptismal name, the Spanish version of Stanislaus (Polish: Stanisław), itself the Latin version of the name of an 11th-century Polish Catholic Saint Stanislaus the Martyr.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Stanislaus County had a population of 514,453. The racial makeup of Stanislaus County was 337,342 (65.6%) White, 14,721 (2.9%) African American, 5,902 (1.1%) Native American, 26,090 (5.1%) Asian (1.5% Indian, 1.1% Filipino, 0.7% Cambodian, 0.5% Chinese, 0.3% Vietnamese, 0.3% Laotian, 0.1% Japanese, 0.1% Korean, 0.1% Cambodian), 3,401 (0.7%) Pacific Islander, 99,210 (19.3%) from other races, and 27,787 (5.4%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 215,658 persons (41.9%); 37.6% of Stanislaus County is Mexican, 0.6% Puerto Rican, 0.5% Salvadoran, 0.2% Nicaraguan, and 0.2% Guatemalan.
(Note - the US Census Bureau says "this system treats race and ethnicity as separate and independent categories. This means that within the federal system everyone is classified as both a member of one of the four race groups and also as either Hispanic or non-Hispanic." Consequently, there are a total of 8 race-ethnicity categories (e.g., White-Hispanic, White-non-Hispanic, Black-Hispanic, Black-non-Hispanic, etc.). That in turn means that the total Hispanic population is made up of each of the four groups, thus the separate distinction for Hispanic and non-Hispanic.)