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Sacramento, the United States

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Feb 03, 2023

Summary: People describe Sacramento, United States as a vibrant and diverse city with a laid-back atmosphere. Expats love the city's affordability, its proximity to the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and its many outdoor activities. The weather in Sacramento is generally mild, with temperatures ranging from the mid-30s in winter to the mid-90s in summer. The average cost of living for an expat is estimated to be around $2,500 per month. The cost of a one bedroom apartment in Sacramento is around $1,200 per month, while a two bedroom apartment is around $1,500 per month. The approximate population of Sacramento is 513,000.

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What do I need to know about living in Sacramento?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Sacramento, they said:

"Before retiring in Sacramento, it is important to research the city and its cost of living, including housing costs. It is essential to check out the city’s crime rate to make sure that the area is relatively safe. Additionally, if you plan to drive, you may want to research the city’s traffic conditions as it can get congested during rush hour. Furthermore, Sacramento offers plenty of recreational activities such as golf, hiking, and biking, as well as cultural options such as museums and performing arts centers. Several hospitals and medical facilities are available in the area as well. Lastly, when budgeting for retirement, it is important to take into consideration the local taxes, as California has high income, sales, and property taxes," said another person in Sacramento.

"If you are a young person in his/her 20s I would not recommend it. We do have a club scene yes, but it dies around 12am. That and most clubs/bars can be dangerous at times due to gangs coming in and starting trouble. Sacramento is perfect for someone in their later adult years to live and work. However, if you are planning on moving here bring plenty money with you, and try to find a place before coming, which isn't difficult, apartment complexes are always renting," remarked another expat in Sacramento.

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What do I need to know before moving to Sacramento?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Sacramento, they said:

"If you're looking to move to Sacramento, you should become familiar with the climate, which is temperate with four distinct seasons. Summer days can be very hot, and temperatures may get up to 100 degrees (Fahrenheit). Winters can be cold, usually with a few days each month where temperatures dip below freezing, and you can expect some rain in the winter months. You should also look into the cost of living, which is slightly higher than the national average. Housing prices may be more than you expect, though you can look into the suburbs for more reasonable rates. There are many cultural attractions, from art galleries and theaters to music and sport venues. You can explore the exciting culinary scene, featuring restaurants from all over the world. There is also plenty to do outdoors, with parks and hiking trails, bike trails, and nearby beaches. Finally, you'll want to get familiar with the job market and the local economy. Sacramento has a diverse economy and many employers in industries including healthcare, government, services, agriculture, and technology. Additionally, self-employment and freelance opportunities are abundant in the city," said another expat in Sacramento.

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How do I find a place to live in Sacramento?

We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"Finding a place to live in Sacramento may depend on what type of housing you are looking for, as well as your budget and desired area. There are many different real estate agents and rental listing websites, such as Zillow, Trulia and Rent.com, which can be used to search for apartments, townhomes and houses. Additionally, touring different communities and neighborhoods can provide a better understanding of the city and the available housing options. Additionally, speaking with locals in the community can help narrow down the search and provide recommendations. Although seeking a residence in Sacramento may require some exploration, it is possible to find a suitable living arrangement for your needs," added another person living in Sacramento.

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What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Sacramento?

"Expat homes and apartments in Sacramento are typically comfortable and spacious, with plenty of natural light, modern appliances, and plenty of amenities to make life comfortable and convenient. Many of these homes and apartments come with stainless steel appliances, spacious closets, hardwood floors, modern bathrooms, and open floor plans, making them ideal for entertaining guests or just enjoying a quiet night in. Expats often find that the homes and apartments in Sacramento provide plenty of room for their furniture, art, and other items, as well as ample storage spaces and outdoor patios," said another person in Sacramento.

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What is the average cost of housing in Sacramento?

If you are thinking about moving to Sacramento, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"The average cost of housing in Sacramento is relatively high compared to other parts of the state. The median price for a home in the area is around $400,000, and rental costs are also relatively high," remarked another in Sacramento.

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How do I meet people in Sacramento?

When we asked people living in Sacramento about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"There are many ways to meet people in Sacramento. You can join local meetup groups or social clubs, volunteer at local non-profits, take classes or workshops at community colleges and libraries or take part in local events and festivals. You can also look for networking events or join professional organizations to meet people in your field. Lastly, you could also join online groups and forums to connect with people in the area," said another person in Sacramento.

"I would recommend the bars and clubs here in Sacramento. They are mostly located in the downtown area. Some good clubs to visit are Blue Q and Empire. For bars we have plenty of them, some good ones are Sandbar,Pine Cove,Firehouse,Players,for the youngfolks that attend Sac State Univ. you can check out the Library, and you can also go down to the river Old Sacramento area for the riverside dining bars that are available. If you are into music we have a growing underground music community in hip-hop and rock. Finding out about shows is easy mainly because you can flyers for shows posted in every coffee shop and street corner. A good venue for music to check out is the Boardwalk. If clubbing and music isn't your thing we have 2 rivers and a lake within the Sacramento area. One can do everything from boating,swimming,fishing,mountain biking to jogging. There are plenty of outdoor activities to do," remarked another expat in Sacramento.

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What should I bring when moving to Sacramento?

People living in Sacramento were asked what three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They wrote:

"Clothing for warm and cool weather, sturdy footwear, sunscreen, hats, umbrellas, raincoats, toiletries, sports and outdoor activities gear, camera, books, laptop, cell phone, camera equipment, basic household items, personal documents, first aid kit, food items, and cleaning supplies," remarked another in Sacramento.

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William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

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William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

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Where should I setup a bank account in Sacramento?

We asked expats in Sacramento what banks they use and there advice about banking. They advised:

"The most convenient way to setup a bank account in Sacramento is to visit a local bank in your area and speak with a bank representative who can help you create your account and set up the services that best meet your needs. Many banks in Sacramento offer online banking services, and some of the larger banks also have multiple locations throughout the city. Popular banks in Sacramento include Bank of America, Chase, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, and Union Bank," remarked another in Sacramento.

"No, I first got a Bank of America account which annoyed me so much with their lack of customer services (and charging for them too!) that I looked elsewhere and got an account with a local credit union who turned out to be very friendly and flexible and give great personal service. I use them for my Bank account, HELOC and car loan. It's worth trying to find a local Credit Union (they have simple qualification rules, such as must live in a specific area or be employed by a specific employer or industry type," explained one expat.

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Will I be able to find a job in Sacramento?

When we asked people about industries and career opportunities in Sacramento, they reponded:

"Yes, there are many job opportunities in Sacramento. The city is home to major companies like Intel Corporation, Kaiser Permanente, UC Davis Health System, Wells Fargo, and many more. Additionally, the state government and education sector are major employers in the area. There are several job search websites that list hundreds of job openings in Sacramento and its surrounding areas. Additionally, networking with local professional organizations, such as the Sacramento Metro Chamber and Sacramento Regional Technology Alliance, can help prospective job seekers find employment," said another person in Sacramento.

"Sacramento is the capital of California, so there are many opportunities for State service, and most people here make their livings working in various state departments. However Sacramento has a broad job market with various jobs from health care,manual labor,engineering,IT, and customer service. Most people find jobs here via the state personnel board http://spb.ca.gov or for non-state service jobs we have various employment journals and staffing agencies to work with," remarked another expat in Sacramento.

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What is life like in Sacramento?

When we asked people living in Sacramento what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"Living as an expat in my area is a great experience. The people are incredibly friendly, and it is easy to make friends and meet people. There is a great mix of cultures, which is reflected in the food, music, and festivals that take place regularly. The cost of living is relatively low and there are plenty of activities such as parks, beaches, and sports to enjoy. The weather is usually warm and sunny, making it a great place to spend time outdoors. Public transportation is affordable and efficient, so getting around the city is not a problem. Overall, living as an expat in my area is a rewarding experience," remarked another in Sacramento.

"People's lives revolve mostly around working all day to pay the bills, then coming home and socializing. Family isn't really a big priority here mainly because most families here are dysfunctional or broken," explained one expat.

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What do expats in Sacramento appreciate most about the local culture?

"Expats in Sacramento appreciate the city's diverse cultural and eclectic food scene, which includes traditional Mexican and Asian cuisines as well as innovative new restaurants. The city also has a burgeoning craft beer and wine scene, with local pubs, farmers' markets and numerous wineries. Many expats also enjoy the city's mild climate and topography, which promotes outdoor activities such as hiking, biking and camping. Sacramento's affordability and lack of traffic gridlock is also a plus, making it a great choice for those looking to relocate. Finally, its thriving art and music scene, which includes great venues and concerts, further adds to the city's appeal," said another person in Sacramento.

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What do expats find most challenging?

"Expats often find it challenging to adjust to the lifestyle in a new country, such as learning different customs and cultural norms, navigating public transportation, and grappling with language barriers. Additionally, financial matters, like finding employment, understanding local tax laws, and setting up banking accounts, can be extra stressful. Many expats also face loneliness and homesickness, as they may miss family and friends back in their home country," said another expat in Sacramento.

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Is there a lot of crime in Sacramento?

We asked people if there is a lot of crime. They answered:

"Yes, Sacramento does have a significant problem with crime. According to recent statistics, Sacramento has some of the highest crime rates in California and the country. Some of these crimes include violent offenses such as murder, rape, and robbery, as well as property crimes like burglary and car theft," explained one expat.

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Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Sacramento accepting of differences?

"There is a high level of racial and ethnic diversity in Sacramento. The population is made up of close to 34% White non-Hispanic, 11.6% Asian, nearly 16% African American, and nearly 12% Hispanic or Latino. This diversity is reflected in its vibrant culture, local businesses, and various neighborhoods. The people in Sacramento have also been known to be accepting of differences and are often described as friendly and open-minded," added another person living in Sacramento.

"Sacramento is probably one of the most diverse cities in North America next to LA and Toronto. Religiously people will accept you, but non-religious ideologies are growing here. Culturally it is both segregated and inter-mized depending on where you go. The inner city area you will tend to find predominantley Black,Mexican,or South East Asian neighborhoods. However, the farther you go out the neighborhoods become more diverse. People here tend to be ignorant toward other races/ethnicities, you will one time or another run into some racial prejudices, but not all the time. Economically we are like most of the country suffering from the mortgage crisis, however housing costs are at a low for the time being, so if shouldnt be hard to find a house under $200,000 right now," explained one expat living in Sacramento.

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What are the schools in Sacramento like?

"Schools in Sacramento vary in type and quality. Public schools in the area are generally run by the Sacramento City Unified School District and are known for their diverse and vibrant student bodies. There are dozens of charter schools and magnet programs offering a variety of curriculums, such as language immersion, performing arts, STEM, and college prep. There are also a number of private schools located in and around Sacramento, such as Catholic and faith-based schools, Montessori and Waldorf programs, and selective academies," commented one expat when asked about in Sacramento.

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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