If you’re driving up the Interstate 5 through the central valley, gazing out the window, you cannot help but notice the vast amount of land devoted to agriculture. Continuing on this drive through the seemingly endless clearings of fields, a sign appears “Yosemite next exit.” No, you are not about to cruise by the magestic Yosemite National Park. A closer look at the sign reveals a direction to a main street in a growing community. If you have seen this, chances are you have rushed by the flat, 17 square mile town that is Manteca, California.

Life in the “Family City”

Surrounded by the Stanislaus and San Joaquin River, Manteca’s central location makes it an ideal place to raise a family. The once primarily agricultural town is situated on the crossroads of the central valley. Major highways such as the Highway 99 and 120, along with the interstate 5 run along the city at the heart of the central valley. It is about 60 minutes from the mountains and about 60 minutes from the bay area. This offers many people the option to live around a natural landscape, while simultaneously being a short distance away from popular metropolitan areas. As the “family city” Manteca boasts Many schools, parks, churches, and a variety of shopping venues.

Manteca, in the Portrait of California

At the crossroads, In the heart of California

Based on the American Human Development Index ranking provide by the Portrait of California report of 2011, Manteca would be sorted into the category of “Struggling California.” This is categorized by residents that are highly vunerable to economic turns and struggling for security. Blue collar occupations are dominant for the residents. The 5 biggest employers are in the sectors of industry, retail, manufacturing, finance, and service. “Struggling California” was hit especially hard by foreclosures in the 2007 housing market crash.

Despite, the economic downturn, Manteca has had a population increase of more than 30 percent over the past 10 years.