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In December 2009, Forbes ranked Modesto 48th out of 100 among "Best Bang-for-the-Buck Cities".In this ranking, Modesto ranked 8th in housing affordability and travel time but also ranked 86th in job forecast growth and 99th in foreclosures.
The city's annual Architectural Festival honors Modesto's history as a testing ground for mid-century modern architecture during the 1940s and '50s.
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.
California State Route 108 connects to Oakdale, California and east to the foothills.
The city has added many roundabouts in an effort to ease traffic congestion within the town with varying degrees of success.
Irrigation water came from dams installed in the foothills, and irrigated fields of vegetables and fruit and nut trees flourished. During World War II, the area provided canned goods, powdered milk, and eggs for the US armed forces and Allied forces.