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Things You Should Know Before Moving to Stockton, CA

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As the San Joaquin county seat and 4th largest city in the California central valley, almost 300,000 residents are settled in Stockton.

Though the city has seen hard financial times, filing Chapter 9 bankruptcy in 2012, it strives to survive. Seeing brighter days for the future, residents focus on the positive aspects of the area's commerce such as the international deep-water harbor Port of Stockton.

Sitting on the San Joaquin River, the port gives the area an aquatic atmosphere with its constant shipping going in and out of the community. Further inland, diverse neighborhoods and a distinct downtown make up the 64-mile area that is home to the notable University of the Pacific.

As locals look forward to still thriving business, education and recreation in the region, creating full lives within the city borders, they stand strong as they refuse to accept financial failure.

See if Stockton may be where you and your family may want to settle. Browse this guide and see exactly what prospects may be in the province. You might be surprised with what you find.

Stockton Climate

A Mediterranean climate gives the community a comfortable feel in all four seasons. Never too hot or too cold, locals do not suffer overwhelming weather spells during the seasons. With July as the hottest month, averaging 94-degrees daily, and December as the coldest month, with typical temperatures at 37-degrees, residents experience sensational summer and winter climate.

With no snow fall, the last flurry of .03 inches in 1976, the only precipitation Stockton sees is the 14-inches of annual rain that falls on the region. With an average of 56 rainy days a year, with most days in December, January and February, residents are not often given a reason to get their umbrellas out. However, they do use lots of suntan lotion as they lather up when April rolls around.

Stockton Neighborhoods

Since the real estate collapse in 2007, the city has fought its way back from a significant amount of foreclosures with the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. Handed $12.1 million by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the city proposes property makeovers on many abandoned area homes.

With down payment and closing-cost assistance, low-to-moderate income families can purchase a piece of property in the province. The Downtown Stockton Alliance is also on the move, making things happen in the area through revitalization and economic growth. With a little faith and needed finances, Stockton is recovering from all its foreclosures, rising out of the ashes for sure.

Registering Your Car

The California Division of Motor Vehicles mandates that you have 10 days to maintain a license if you relocate to Stockton. You are considered a state resident if you register to vote, pay school tuition or file property taxes. Along with completing an application, new residents must provide proof of name, address and birth date, as well as a social security card to get a California license. You must also take a vision test and pay a $39 fee for the permit. Registering your car and receiving California plates is easy. With the necessary paperwork and proof of insurance, you can register your car in the Golden State for $46 dollars. After your car is registered, you will receive new license plates to signify you are truly a citizen.

Stockton Schools

The Stockton Unified School District, made up of 40 elementary and 4 high schools, has 12 specialty schools and programs that cater to early college and adult students. And get ready for more. The city also educates students in the Lincoln Unified School District, Lodi Unified School District and Manteca Unified School District. With a school on almost every corner in the community, children do not have to go far for their education.

A plethora of private schools in Stockton discipline children, giving them a specialized and religious-based education. Known for being premier and private, Saint Mary's High School preps students for college on a 25-acre campus. After high school, area students move onto to the University of the Pacific, Heald College or the San Joaquin Delta College to name a few. You are never too young or too old to school in Stockton, making the area a wealth of knowledge.

Stockton Employment

With a 14.2% unemployment, high above the state average of 9.8% and the national average of 7.9%, Stockton is seemingly a poor place to settle. However, if there is a will there is a way. This is a very real truth for regional residents who have suffered and survived the area's economic downturn. With top area employers, many are making more than ends meat in the area.

As the San Joaquin County seat, Stockton's top employer is the regional government, employing almost 6,000 workers. Other top employers in the area are the Stockton Unified School District, 400 employees, and St. Joseph's Medical Center, 2,230 staffers. If you have not landed a job in the area before you relocate, you may want to start searching the community classifieds to see what career openings are available. Contacting the Stockton Chamber of Commerce is also an excellent idea when seeking employment.

Living Costs in the City

CNN Money reports a $56,032 median household income and a $135,000 average home price. Though the cost-of-living is 8.9% less than the state average, it is still 19.5% greater than the national average. Coupled by a high unemployment rate, the numbers can be daunting to say the least. But don't be fooled, Stockton will not give up.

If you rent an area apartment, you will pay significantly less than if you own a piece of property. A notion you may want to consider when first moving to the community. Depending on the landscape and luxury of the residence, the rent for a one-bedroom apartment averages between $700-$900, and a two-bedroom apartment could run between $850 to $1,500.

Stockton Moving Resources

Moving and storage companies are ready and willing to help you with your move to Stockton, whether you’re moving from out of state or from another county in California. Make sure you get estimates from multiple moving services before you commit to hiring any (at least three estimates). Check back to our guides for tips on how to choose your moving service wisely with important questions to ask, differentiating between types of estimates, and mistakes to avoid. Visit the following pages at to get quotes for the following services:

Stockton Transportation

Interstate 5 and State Routes 4 and 99 are three major roadways in the region residents travel to get around town. You can access Stockton from any of these routes, making it convenient for motorists to travel. And if you don't feel like driving, San Joaquin Regional Transit District runs off diesel-electric hybrid buses that stop every 15 minutes at any one of dozens of destinations in the city.

With nearly 100 routes in the region, there is never any reason to be late to where you are going if you choose to use the public transportation system. The Stockton Metropolitan Airport conveniently caters to locals who have to catch a flight out of town. Located within miles of the central business district, professionals doing business in the seaport city are also quite familiar with the local landing strip.

Culture & Contemporary Life

Stockton residents have not let the area's financial issues hamper their idea of fun. In fact, the area as an array of free and low-cost activities always happening in the community to get residents out of the house. Several annual events, including the Stockton Asparagus Festival, Filipino Barrio Fiesta, San Joaquin Children's Film Festival and Stockton Festival of Lights and Boat Parade, are family-friendly functions locals look forward to every year.

Museums and art galleries are also venues locals gather at for fine art and education. The community also immerses itself in culture through the Stockton Opera and Pacific Theater at the University of Pacific. Excellent restaurants and nightclubs located throughout Stockton keep residents both full and free to dance all night long if they choose.

Stockton Relocation Tips

  • Visit Stockton, CA and see for yourself how the California community is coming out strong regardless of the region's recent financial woes. With many great places to play, the area is perfect for a weekend getaway.


  • Research the Stockton annual budget and find out about area taxes. The cost of county, city and school taxes will greatly determine whether or not you may want to purchase property in the province.


  • Browse the San Joaquin County Library website to connect with the community. From making friends through volunteering or becoming educated by getting involved in a community club, you are sure to know the area better after visiting the site.

Staff Writer  Posted by Staff Writer on April 30, 2013

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