What's it like to live in Sacramento, CA?

Ernesto Morales

Profile written by local expert:

Ernesto Morales

Many people think Sacramento's best attribute is that it's located a few hours from exciting destinations like San Francisco and Lake Tahoe. Though it's constantly overshadowed by cosmopolitan places in its own state, Sacramento is undergoing a transition, with technological and cultural developments breathing new life into the California capital.

Drawn to the reasonable cost of living, abundant sunshine and ethnic diversity, young professionals and middle-class families are leading a population boom not seen since the Gold Rush. Economic development and a resurgent real estate market are providing exciting opportunities for locals and newcomers alike.

Sacramento also beckons to foodies. Sitting in the heart of the Central Valley, the metro area is at the forefront of the farm-to-fork movement. Residents have access to an abundance of fresh, locally sourced foods from nearby farms, wineries and breweries.


U.S. News analyzed 125 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.

Sacramento, California is ranked:

#92 in Best Places to Live

#86 in Best Places to Retire




Best Places to Live

  • Desirability
  • Value
  • Job Market
  • Quality of Life
  • Net Migration

Read how we rank places

Sacramento, CA Quick Stats

  • 2,242,542

    Metro Population

  • $54,690

    Average Annual Salary

  • 73.8° / 47.6°

    Avg High/Low Temps

  • 36.9

    Median Age

  • $362,858

    Median Home Price

  • 21.2 inches

    AVG Annual Rainfall

  • 4.6%

    Unemployment Rate

  • $1,106

    Median Monthly Rent

  • 26.4 minutes

    Avg Commute Time

What's the cost of living in Sacramento, CA?

Sacramento residents benefit from a desirable income to cost-of-living ratio. The average annual income is higher than the national average (albeit relatively low by California standards). Although the median home sale price in Sacramento is significantly higher than the national median, they're noticeably lower than those in other major California metro areas – which is one of the factors helping to drive Sacramento's population growth.

Value Index

Index Score: 5.5 /10

How we calculate this.

Sacramento offers a lower value than similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income.

Housing Costs this Year



Housing Costs Over Time

Data sourced from Zillow median home sale price data series. Additional data provided by the Austin Board of Realtors, Houston Association of Realtors, Intermountain MLS, Omaha Area Board of Realtors, San Antonio Board of Realtors, and the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

Buying or selling a home? Find top real estate agents in Sacramento, CA.

What's the weather like in Sacramento, CA?

Sacramento experiences a Mediterranean climate, and the region experiences most of its precipitation in the winter months.

Seasonal Temperature (Avgs)









Seasonal Rainfall (Avgs)

4.3 in


3.1 in


0.2 in


2.6 in


Monthly High and Low Temperatures (°F)

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center.

What's the best way to get around Sacramento, CA?

Sacramento and the surrounding six-county, 22-city metropolitan area are undeniably sprawling. A car is not only a necessity for Sacramento residents, it is also the preferred mode of transportation.

Finding that elusive parking spot in Sacramento comes at a premium. Overall, Sacramento motorists pay about $15 per day and $145 per month to park on city streets and in garages.

Compared to extensive transit systems in the Bay Area and Los Angeles, public transportation around Sacramento is rather limited. The Sacramento Regional Transit District, SACRT, operates buses and light rail services that cover most neighborhoods in Sacramento. However, budget cuts have forced SACRT to reduce late-night service.

Very few locals brave the central city streets and car-crowded boulevards by bike. Community leaders are committed to adding continuous bike lanes and trails.

Sacramento International Airport flies to most major airline hubs across the U.S. and Mexico. Downtown's Sacramento Valley Station runs daily Amtrak service connecting Sacramento with the Bay Area, Seattle, Denver and Chicago

Commuting in Sacramento, CA

Means of Transportation
Equal to national average

Equal to national average

Equal to national average

Public Transit
Below national average
Average Commute Time

26.4 minutes

0.3 minutes more than national average

Average Commute Times by Zip Code

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Who lives in Sacramento, CA?

Sacramento has historically been a family-centric town, but an influx of younger residents has diversified the population. Often recognized as one of America's most integrated metro areas, Sacramento has a growing LGBT enclave in the Lavender Heights neighborhood, an arts community and a predominately multi-ethnic population in North and South Sacramento.

A much younger and more liberal demographic is concentrated in center-city neighborhoods like Midtown and Southside Park. But in recent years, expensive rents and gentrification have pushed lower-income residents farther from the downtown area.

With a rich blend of distinct cultures and ethnicities, Sacramento residents affiliate with many different religions. Of the 37 percent of religious residents, Catholicism is the most practiced. This is in part due to the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, the cathedral of the Roman Catholic church in the U.S., is located in Sacramento.

Sacramento households are increasingly becoming multi-linguistic. About 30 percent of households speak another language other than English.

Age Distribution

Marital Status Breakdown

About the same number of single people in Sacramento as national average

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

What is there to do in Sacramento, CA?

Sacramentans have a hungry appetite for the outdoors, which is partially satisfied by more than 200 public parks. Meanwhile, recreational opportunities abound along the 32-mile American River Parkway, which runs from downtown to the historic Folsom suburb. With so many ways to be active, it's no wonder Sacramento's residents are among the fittest in the country.

Additionally, whether it's attending farmers markets under the freeway or catching music at Concerts in the Park, Sacramentans enjoy coming together to celebrate their community. A very popular community gathering is the 2nd Saturday Art Walk, where thousands of metropolitan residents turn out to support local artists and small businesses.

Find out more about what there is to see and do in Sacramento, CA