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What is Sacramento’s cost of living really like?

We’ve broken down the cost of living in Sacramento, comparing it to other states and the US national average.


Can you put a price on beauty like this?

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Table of Contents

Note: This article was originally published Sept. 20, 2022, and updated Jan. 4, 2024.

With Sacramento constantly growing and undertaking multiple high-profile developments this year, we figured it was time to talk about the cost of planting some roots in the City of Trees.

The median household income in Sacramento County is $84,010 according to the US Census Bureau. State-wise, California is No. 6 in the country for median income at ~$84,000 per household.

A chart showing the cost of living breakdown in Sacramento, CA

The overall cost of living in Sac is higher than the national average.

Screenshot via

The overall cost of living in Sacramento is higher than the national average, but lower than the rest of the state.

In Sacramento, the cost of healthcare is higher compared to other parts of the state and the rest of the US. The cost of groceries, housing, and transportation in the city have lower average costs than other cities in California, but higher than the country overall.

Breaking down the numbers

Hypothetically speaking, if you live in a household that brings in $50,000 annually – according to experts — you shouldn’t spend more than 30% of your monthly gross income on rent and utilities. Don’t worry, we did the math for you — your max monthly budget would be $1,250. The average monthly rent for an apartment in Sac is $1,850 — putting you over budget.

Take a look at the chart below to see how Sac’s cost of living compares to that of San Diego.

A chart comparing the cost of living between Sacramento and San Diego

Sacramento has more affordable food and groceries than San Diego.

Screenshot via

Interested in seeing Sac’s cost of living compared to cities in other states? We played around on NerdWallet‘s cost of living calculator, where you can put in any city along with your current pre-tax household income to find out what other cities you could actually afford to live in.
We took a look at the cost of living in Sac compared to San Diego. Here’s what we found:

  • The cost of living is 22% higher in San Diego.
  • To maintain our standard of living, we would need to bring in $61,093 to our San Diego household.
  • The median cost for a two-bedroom apartment is $2,874, which is $578 more than Sacramento.

Sac also has entities such as the 2-1-1 Sacramento + other government-funded programs to help develop more affordable units.

There are also a number of local development firms working on apartments seemingly all the time — from the 660 J Street Renovation in Downtown to the affordable housing development from the Capitol Area Development Authority at 1322 O Street.

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