Making the decision about relocating to either Stockton or Sacramento? Located just under 50 miles apart, both are exceptional places to live in California. With pros and cons to living in Stockton and Sacramento, knowing what each locale has to offer is paramount.
Situated north of San Francisco and Stockton, Sacramento is the capital of California. Famous for its role in the Gold Rush era, the city is now lauded for being home to the Sacramento Zoo, numerous museums, golf courses, and a thriving downtown.
Less than an hour south, Stockton is another exceptional California city. While not as well-known as Sacramento, Stockton has a myriad of perks and advantages for locals. The city is home to The Haggin Museum, scenic Oak Grove Regional Park, Micke Grove Regional Park, and ample places to shop and dine.
How do you choose between Sacramento vs Stockton? Comparing and contrasting the advantages and drawbacks of moving to both cities is an absolute must. Discover everything you need to know about Stockton and Sacramento so that you can make the right choice for your upcoming California move.
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Pros & Cons of Living in Stockton vs Sacramento
Living in Stockton Pros
There are many things to love about living in Stockton. It is the 11th largest city in California, and was founded in 1850. The city is home to excellent schools, places to shop, restaurants, and attractions. When compared to other cities in California, Stockton is an affordable place to live.
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Enjoy getting out in nature? Throughout the city, locals have prime access to parks, trails, golf courses, and more. Favorite outdoor spaces in Stockton include Brookside Golf & Country Club, Stockton Golf & Country Club, Oak Grove Regional Park, Oak Park, and Louis Park. The San Joaquin River flows through some of these outdoor spaces, providing excellent views of the water.
Individuals who are looking for even more to do in Stockton have ample places to explore in their leisure time — both indoors and outdoors. Among residents and visitors alike, popular places to check out include Children’s Museum Stockton, Regal Stockton City Center movie theater, the Haggin Museum, The Bob Hope Theatre, and the Mexican Heritage Center & Gallery.
Education has always been an important part of the lifestyle in Stockton. It is home to the oldest university in California — University of the Pacific — which first opened its doors in 1851. Public schools in Stockton are also highly rated, and offer a superior learning experience. Middle College High School, Stockton Unified Early College Academy, and Aspire Benjamin Holt College Preparatory Academy all have perfect 10/10 ratings from GreatSchools.org.
Another advantage of living in Stockton is having access to its numerous places to shop and dine. Within the city limits, you can conveniently run your errands at Lincoln Center, Calaveras Square Shopping Center, and at Sherwood Mall. Planning a meal out on the town? Stockton features outstanding restaurants, including Bud’s Seafood Grille, Market Tavern, Cast Iron Trading Co., and The Downtowner.
Living in Stockton Cons
Two of the biggest cons of living in Stockton are high crime and the lack of public transportation.
While there are plenty of safe neighborhoods within the city, the Stockton crime rate is 82 percent higher than the national average. It also has a violent crime rate that is 229 percent above the nationwide average, making it imperative for new residents to know what parts of the city to avoid.
Additionally, there is minimal public transportation in Stockton. This makes it necessary for all residents to have a vehicle to get to and from work, school, and other locations.
Living in Sacramento Pros
Known for being the capital of California, Sacramento is a beautiful city with a thriving economy. While living in Sacramento, you’ll enjoy mild year-round weather, top-notch attractions, and great schools.
Those who are new to Sacramento have a myriad of places to explore in their free time. There is no shortage of attractions and entertainment venues for residents and visitors to enjoy. Spend your days and nights checking out hotspots such as the California Museum, the Sacramento Zoo, Funderland Amusement Park, Old Sacramento Waterfront (open since 1849), and Raging Waters Sacramento.
Similar to Stockton, Sacramento also has a wonderful public school system for students of all ages. The vast majority of area schools have perfect or near-perfect ratings on GreatSchools.org. This includes West Campus High School, Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep School, and Arnold Adreani Elementary School.
Planning to spend your days off outside? Sacramento is an oasis for nature enthusiasts. Brimming with parks, trails, and other scenic spaces, it is easy to find a new favorite place to bask in the gorgeous northern California weather. The best outdoor spaces in Sacramento include Sutter’s Landing Regional Park, William Land Regional Park, Paradise Beach, and Discovery Park.
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Living in Sacramento Cons
Crime and high cost of living are two of the biggest drawbacks to living in Sacramento.
Although not as high as Stockton’s crime rates, the crime rate in Sacramento is 46 percent above the national average. Violent crime is 76 percent above the national average in Sacramento. Despite these figures, there are plenty of safe and desirable neighborhoods in the city.
The cost of living is also a con of living in Sacramento — especially when it comes to housing. The Sacramento Cost of Living Index (COLI) is 121.6, which is 21.6 percent higher than the national average.
Comparisons of Stockton vs Sacramento
Population and Demographics
The population of Sacramento is higher than Stockton. Despite the sizable difference in the total population, the population density between Sacramento and Stockton is similar. The median age of residents in Sacramento vs. Stockton is also similar, with Stockton having a slightly lower median resident age.
- Stockton Population (as of 2020): 322,107
- Sacramento Population (as of 2020): 525,028
- Stockton Population Density: 5,162.7 people per square mile
- Sacramento Population Density: 5,324.3 people per square mile
- Stockton Median Age: 32.4
- Sacramento Median Age: 36.3
- Stockton Male vs Female: Male – 49%, Female – 51%
- Sacramento Male vs Female: Male – 49%, Female – 51%
- Stockton Median Household Income: $69,844 per year
- Sacramento Median Household Income: $75,311 per year
- Stockton Educational Attainment: 77.2% high school diploma or higher, 15.9% bachelor’s degree or higher
- Sacramento Educational Attainment: 86.2% high school diploma or higher, 36.9% bachelor’s degree or higher
The Cost of Living in Stockton Versus Sacramento
In terms of the cost of living in each city, it is more affordable to live in Stockton than Sacramento. According to the Economic Policy Institute, a family of four needs to earn $85,959 in Stockton. In Sacramento, this same family would need to earn $95,122.
- Stockton Cost of Living Index: 115.6
- Sacramento Cost of Living Index: 121.6
- Stockton Average Monthly Rent: $1,552
- Sacramento Average Monthly Rent: $1,851
- Stockton Median Home Price: $410,000
- Sacramento Median Home Price: $468,000
Learn more about the Sacramento cost of living with our guide!
Comparing various crime rates, Sacramento is superior to Stockton. All categories of crime are lower in Sacramento versus Stockton.
- Stockton Total Crime Rate (per 100K): 4,259
- Sacramento Total Crime Rate (per 100K): 3,428
- Stockton Violent Crime Rate (per 100K): 1,277
- Sacramento Violent Crime Rate (per 100K): 683
- Stockton Property Crime Rate (per 100K): 2,981
- Sacramento Property Crime Rate (per 100K): 2,745
Climate & Weather
Being only 50 miles apart, the climate in Sacramento versus Stockton is almost identical.
- Stockton Climate Type: Mediterranean
- Sacramento Climate Type: Mediterranean
- Stockton Average Rainfall: 17 inches
- Sacramento Average Rainfall: 18.51 inches
- Stockton Average Daily High Temperature Range (Yearly): 56°F – 93°F
- Sacramento Average Daily High Temperature Range (Yearly): 55°F – 93°F
- Stockton Average Daily Low Temperature Range (Yearly): 40°F – 60°F
- Sacramento Average Daily Low Temperature Range (Yearly): 40°F – 61°F
Sacramento has far more public transportation options than Stockton — including a 42.9-mile light rail system.
- Stockton Public Transportation System: Operated by San Joaquin Regional Transit District
- Sacramento Public Transportation System: Operated by Sacramento Regional Transit District
- Stockton Types of Public Transportation: Bus, walking, biking, taxi
- Sacramento Types of Public Transportation: Bus, light rail, walking, biking, taxi
Economic figures in Stockton vs Sacramento are somewhat similar. However, the per capita income and unemployment rates are better in Sacramento vs. Stockton.
- Stockton Per Capita Income: $26,811
- Sacramento Per Capita Income: $37,916
- Stockton Unemployment Rate: 4.3 percent
- Sacramento Unemployment Rate: 3.5 percent
- Stockton Top Employers: University of the Pacific, Starbucks, Best Buy, Diamond Nuts, San Joaquin General Hospital
- Sacramento Top Employers: Intel, Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health, State Government
Popular Sports Teams
Sports fans have more options for professional teams to cheer on in Sacramento vs. Stockton.
- Stockton: Stockton Lightning, Stockton Heat, Stockton Kings
- Sacramento: Sacramento Kings, Sacramento River Cats, Sacramento Monarchs, Sacramento Republic FC
Sacramento to Stockton Distance
How far is Stockton from Sacramento? The total distance is 48.6 miles. In normal traffic, you can make the one-way drive in under an hour (about 49 minutes).
Deciding how to get from Stockton to Sacramento? The quickest and easiest route for driving is Interstate 5.
Sacramento versus Stockton: Where Are You Moving?
No matter which city you have decided to call home, Mother Lode Van & Storage is ready to help. Award-winning and serving thousands of clients per year, our team of relocation experts make it effortless and stress-free to move to your new city. Contact us today for a free estimate!