San Francisco is a fantastic city, but the astronomical cost of living there has created an exodus. San Franciscans looking for a more affordable lifestyle are finding it in Sacramento, just 88 miles northeast. Housing is 321% less expensive in Sacramento, the cost of living is 128% lower, and the tech economy is booming.
The Greater Sacramento Economic Council reports that Sacramento is the number one spot for Bay Area residents to move to, revealing that 24,000 people relocate from the Bay Area to Sacramento every year. If you, too, are ready to say goodbye to SF’s exorbitant prices and hello to Sacramento’s moderate living costs, beautiful neighborhoods, and proximity to outdoor adventures, keep reading.
What to Know About Moving from San Francisco to Sacramento
Here are some things to know when planning your move to Sactown.
Housing and Cost of Living
People are moving from San Francisco to Sacramento in droves. The median home cost in Sacramento is $327,300 compared to San Francisco’s $1,378,300 – a difference of $1,051,000! Underscoring that Sacramento is a popular city for new residents, the demand for housing has caused home appreciation to soar to 54% over the past five years. In San Francisco, home appreciation over the same period was 49%.
Rent in Sacramento is over $2,000 cheaper. Here, a two-bedroom rental averages $1,250 compared to the same size rental in San Francisco that averages $3,286. You’ll save on other necessary living expenses, too, because the overall cost of living is 128% cheaper in Sacramento. You’ll save 11% on groceries and food, 31% on transportation costs, and 4% on health costs.
The family median income is $114,049 in San Francisco and $62,934 in Sacramento, but keep in mind your lower housing and cost of living will help compensate for the difference.
The amount you spend on taxes may not change too much with your move. Here’s a brief rundown on the primary tax categories:
- Sales tax: San Francisco sales tax is 8.5%, and in Sacramento, you’ll pay a fraction more on your purchases with the 8.75% sales tax.
- Property tax: Sacramento levies property tax at 0.949% of assessed value. If you own a home in San Francisco, you pay property tax at a rate of 0.68%. Despite Sacramento’s higher rate, you’ll likely have a lower tax bill because of the much lower home prices.
- Income tax: And of course, you need to include your California state income tax in your living expenses. Those who earn between $56,085 and $286,492 pay 9.3% on taxable income.
Economy and Job Growth
It’s no question that San Francisco is a tech giant, but the Sacramento tech economy continues to grow as more people move in from the Bay. The metro Sacramento area boasts Intel (in Folsom), Apple (in Elk Grove), Oracle (in Rocklin), and UC Davis’ outstanding engineering school. According to ceoworld.biz, Sacramento ranks as the #11 best city in the US for STEM professionals.
Other leading industries are finance, health care, education, and government. Top jobs by occupation include office and administrative support; sales; executive, managers, and administrators; education; and food services.
Job growth in the next ten years will be a bit higher in San Francisco. The projection is that the Sacramento job market will grow 35% over the next decade compared to 39% in San Francisco.
Transportation and Traffic
San Francisco’s public transportation is excellent, earning the city a transit score of 80. A one way trip to work averages 33 minutes and 34% of commuters use mass transit.
The Sacramento commute averages 25 minutes one-way, but as a more car-dependent city, only 4% of its residents use public transportation to get to and from work. The Sacramento Regional Transit District operates busses and light rail, but still, the transit score is below average at 34. Public transportation tries to keep up with the city’s growing population, but like most residents, you’ll need a car to get around sprawling Sacramento.
Weather and Climate
Moving inland, you’ll leave behind the gentle, mild climate of San Francisco. Sacramento has much hotter summers, colder winters, and less rainfall.
The average July highs in San Francisco are 67 °F. In Sacramento, expect average July highs of 93 °F, but remember – that’s the average – triple digits are common during the summer. Winter weather will be just slightly cooler in Sacramento. Average January highs in San Francisco are 58 with lows of 47. Average January highs in Sacramento run 55 with lows of 41.
San Francisco gets 25 inches of annual rainfall, whereas Sacramento sees about 19 inches, mainly November through April. When the rainy season begins, heavy tule fog can appear, causing hazardous driving conditions, especially at night.
Sacramento’s crime rates are lower than San Francisco’s but not as low as the national average. On a scale from 1 to 100, the US average violent crime rate is 23. In Sacramento, it’s 36 and in San Francisco, 40. The US average property crime rate is 35. The Sacramento rate is 47, and the San Francisco rate is 79.
To make sure you feel confident about safety, it’s a good idea to google the crime rates of particular neighborhoods you’re considering. If safety is a priority, you may want to explore the communities of Hollywood Park, Natomas Park, and Willow Creek.
Culture, Diversity, and Demographics
Since 2010, the Sacramento population has grown by 11.8% and currently has about 489,650 residents. Over the same decade, San Francisco’s population grew by 11.28%. However, in the last couple of years, the Bay Area has experienced a net migration out of the city. In Sacramento, you’ll see higher African American and Hispanic populations than in San Francisco, with 33% White, 28% Hispanic, 18% Asian, and 13% African American. San Francisco has 41% White, 15% Hispanic, 34% Asian, and 5% African American.
When considering a move, it’s essential to be aware of the various communities that make up a metro area. In addition to the nearly 500,000 Sacramento city residents, metro Sacramento has 2.6 million residents who live in Sierra foothill towns like Auburn and Grass Valley to communities west of the city like Winters and Davis.
Politically, San Francisco is a more progressive city than Sacramento, but still, the majority of voters in Sacramento are liberal. Registered Democrats in San Francisco total 85% and 58% in Sacramento. A growing number of millennials make up 21% of Sacramento’s population, and the city is #3 in the country for millennial migration.
Even though they’re only 88 miles apart, Sacramento and San Francisco are like two different worlds. Sacramento’s location, in the northern section of California’s Central Valley, determines its climate and landscape. Unlike hilly San Francisco, Sacramento is flat but interwoven with rivers that are now heavily diverted and dammed. The Sacramento and American Rivers meet just north of Downtown Sacramento and form part of the San Francisco Bay watershed. As a result of abundant water, the Sacramento Valley is full of citrus, nut, and fruit orchards.
Things to Do
If you’re afraid of leaving behind the things you love to do in San Francisco, no worries – you can be back in the city in about an hour and a half. But Sacramento also offers its own unique diversions to keep you busy in your free time – some of which just don’t happen in San Francisco.
Downtown’s lively historic district, full of restaurants and bars, converted paddle wheelers and working steam trains, documents the gold rush and founding of the capital. Sailors and boaters can cruise down through the delta to San Francisco Bay. And on a sweltering summer day, tubing Sacramento’s rivers is a blast. If you’re a mountain sports enthusiast, it takes you three and a half hours to get up into the Sierras from San Francisco. From Sacramento, you’ll be skiing, hiking, or camping within two hours.
For more things to do, see here.
Best Neighborhoods in Sacramento
As you plan your relocation, you may want to consider the following communities:
About a 15-minute drive northwest of Downtown, Village 2 has approximately 3,082 residents. Housing is in single-family homes that typically have between four- and five-bedrooms, and there are some mobile manufactured homes. Parks and restaurants add to the convenience of living in Village 2. Get more information here.
Only 1,272 people live in Alkali Flat, the oldest neighborhood in Sacramento. Adjacent to Downtown, this urban neighborhood is very walkable and bikeable. Homes range from historic Victorians to contemporary mid-rise condos and townhomes. This neighborhood is ideal for those who work Downtown and want to walk or cycle rather than drive to work. Here’s more Alkali Flat info.
About a 15-minute drive east of Downtown, Campus Commons was built along the American River. The California State University at Sacramento campus is directly across the river via J Street or a pedestrian bridge. Mid-size single-family homes and two- to three-bedroom low-rise condos in garden settings are the typical housing types. Learn more about Campus Commons here.
A great family-oriented neighborhood, Village 9, is located about 15 minutes north of Downtown. Convenient and quick access to the I-5 makes commutes easy. The approximately 5,170 residents enjoy the four beautiful parks. Most of the housing is in three- and four-bedroom single-family homes, but there are also some two- and three-bedroom condos. Find out more about Village 9 here.
Also located about 15 minutes northwest of Downtown, Point West is a suburban neighborhood of about 1,400 residents. Housing is generally older single-family homes that are between two- and three-bedrooms. If you are working at the business park, industrial park, or Cal Expo Center, all of which sit directly south of Point West, then this neighborhood couldn’t be more convenient. Find out more details here.
Just a few blocks north of Downtown and Capitol Mall, Richards, also known as Southern Pacific Richards, is a sparsely populated mixed-use neighborhood located at the confluence of the American and Sacramento Rivers. The Matsui Waterfront Park runs along the western edge of the area, bordering the Sacramento River. I-5 also parallels the Sacramento River on the western border. Housing consists of older single-family homes, condos, and apartments. Learn more about Richards here.
Suburban River Park is about 15 minutes east of Downtown, where the majority of the 3,280 residents own their homes. The American River forms the northern and eastern boundaries of the neighborhood. Paradise Beach is a popular park on the river, and residents enjoy the trail along the river that connects south to the California State University at Sacramento campus. Here’s more info about River Park.
Again, located 15 minutes north of Downtown, near the other Village neighborhoods, Village 12 has about 3,300 residents. This family-friendly neighborhood has beautiful green spaces planned throughout. Housing consists of low-rise condos with great amenities like clubhouses, pools, and gyms, plus three- and four-bedroom single-family homes. Nearby I-5 makes commuting convenient. Ready to learn more about Village 12?
Cost of Moving from San Francisco to Sacramento
On average, it costs about $500-$1500 to move from San Francisco to Sacramento. Though this might sound expensive, consider that you are hauling your stuff about 88 miles across the state. The total cost of your move will depend on several variables, including your origin and destination zip codes, the time of year you’re moving, the size of your household, and which services you require. The best way to get an accurate estimate is by scheduling an in-home or virtual (no contact) walkthrough with a licensed and insured interstate mover. Get free moving quotes from the best San Francisco to Sacramento movers now!