Throughout California, counties are growing…inland. Of California's 58 counties, 19 of them saw growth during 2020-2022, almost all of them being inland counties. In Sacramento County specifically, from 2010 to 2022, the area saw an almost 16% increase in population, while the state population has stayed relatively consistent since 2010 and has not grown since 2020. Sacramento however, is expanding fast bringing new attractions like the Downtown Railyards and tons of events throughout the area, but what's causing it to be one of the top 3 growing cities in California?
Bay Area or Pay Area?
San Francisco's rising house prices and barrier to low-cost living are two prime reasons why some surrounding inland counties are seeing such an increase in population. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that from 2017 - 2021 over a ⅓ of all residents moving within California to inland counties came from the Bay Area.
Most residents report cheaper housing prices overall as a reason for their move. The median price for a house in San Francisco is listed over $1.3 million compared to $490,000 in Sacramento (63% cheaper). Even those looking to rent aren't safe from rising prices with apartments in San Francisco rented at about $3,300/mo on average. Additionally if we use the state average, the cost of living in San Francisco is 28% higher than the state average and 79% higher than the national average. Sacramento on the other hand is 15% lower than the state average.
The migration pattern from the Bay Area to Sacramento predates the pandemic, and now the accessibility and flexibility of remote work continue to encourage people to move inland.
The pandemic revolutionized access to remote work more than we could have imagined. During the beginning and peak of the pandemic, remote work rose to a staggering 41% of the workforce. Though the number has declined slightly to 27% in 2023, it's nowhere near the 5% that it was in 2018.
In San Francisco specifically, over 30% of all job openings offered some sort of hybrid or remote work, up from 5% in 2019. Moreover, with Sacramento being so close, there is an opportunity to still work in the Bay Area and reap the financial benefits without bearing the city's cost. Remote work is paying more too; a recent study found that remote workers can earn anywhere from 17%-58% more than their median salary working in the office.
Overall, Sacramento's location and affordability are starting to gather attention from surrounding local communities, plus its charm of being the Golden State capital doesn't hurt either.
Sacra-Meant to Be
In addition to offering affordability and Bay Area accessibility, Sacramento also has many treasures to offer.
Sacramento is known as the Farm to Fork capital and is an agricultural mecca with tons of local produce, farmer's markets, food festivals, and more. In fact, the Downtown Sacramento Farmer's Market is the largest Certified Famer's Market in the nation with over 100 different vendors present at one time. You can enjoy local, fresh, and affordable fruits & vegetables as well as baked goods, flowers, herbs, and cheeses. Even if you're not in the Downtown area, there are many other certified farmer's markets in the city.
Speaking of Downtown Sacramento, the Railyards are also getting their own makeover bringing a new mixed-use urban community to the heart of Sacramento. This project will see the construction of a variety of different spaces from offices, a hospital and medical center, to a renovated historic shopping district and residential locations. The most recent addition, The AJ, is a residential project offering easy and walkable access to transport and the rest of the Railyards. Once finished the area will be a community hub bustling with people day and night.
If you're looking for reasons to move to Sacramento, the list is large and inviting. The skyrocketing housing prices and high cost of living in San Francisco have driven many residents to seek more affordable options in Sacramento, where housing costs are significantly lower. The accessibility of remote work has played a significant role in this move, allowing people to work in the Bay Area while enjoying the financial benefits and charm of Sacramento. Furthermore, Sacramento offers a range of attractions, including its designation as the Farm to Fork capital and the ongoing development of the Railyards, which promises to bring new opportunities and a vibrant urban community to the city.
Looking for your first step in moving to Sacramento? Add your name to the interest list for the AJ to get a head start.