A bustling city set upon the confluence of two rivers, Sacramento is a picturesque place to call home. The Californian capital boasts a lush urban forest made up of everything from willows and elms to eucalyptus, palm and fruit trees.

With a wonderfully diverse and welcoming community, Sacramento draws people from all over the US and, indeed, the world. A variety of ethnicities and nationalities weave together harmoniously to make up the rich tapestry of the city's culture. New arrivals will soon find their niche here.

Cost of living in Sacramento

The cost of living in Sacramento is steep at around 20 percent higher than the national average. On the upside, it's significantly below California's average cost of living, which is 50 percent above the national average.

Housing in Sacramento tends to be pricey, over 40 percent more expensive than the national median cost of accommodation. That said, it's still one of the cheaper Californian cities for housing, especially compared to prime areas such as San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles.

Transport is another major expense at more than 20 percent above the national average, along with healthcare (15 percent above the US average). Utilities and groceries are only slightly higher than the US average.

Though Sacramento's cost of living is high, this is offset by higher-than-average salaries. When looking for employment in the city, it's vital to ensure that the salary offered is enough to cover costs comfortably.

Getting around in Sacramento

Traffic in Sacramento can be headache-inducing. The average commute time is around 25 minutes, and about two-thirds of those working in the city commute by car alone. Around nine percent carpool to work, while 15 percent are lucky enough to avoid the traffic by working remotely from home.

Sacramento Regional Transit (SACRT) manages public transport in the city, including bus and light rail services. For longer distances, Greyhound buses and Amtrack trains are also available.

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Healthcare in Sacramento

Numerous excellent healthcare facilities can be found in and around Sacramento, including well-known medical providers such as Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health, UC Davis and Dignity Health.

While top-notch medical care is available in Sacramento, health insurance is vital to ensuring access. Close to 95 percent of Sacramento residents are covered by some form of health insurance. About half use health insurance supplied by their employers, while others use government schemes such as Medicaid and Medicare.

If you're new to the US, take a look at our article on Understanding Health Insurance in the USA.

Schools in Sacramento

Sacramento values education highly and is home to several excellent universities, including the University of California, Davis and California State University, Sacramento.

Public education is managed by the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE). In addition to the standard US curriculum, a number of public schools in Sacramento offer highly regarded programmes. These include the International Baccalaureate (IB), which is globally recognised and easily transferable across countries, and the Advanced Programme (AP), a selection of college-level courses that allow students to earn credits before graduating from high school.

There's also a wide selection of private schools in Sacramento. These tend to offer the American curriculum taught through a particular religious or pedagogical lens and are a good option for families looking for something different. Classes also tend to be smaller, and facilities may be better. However, private schools charge tuition, and extras like textbooks, school lunches, extracurriculars and field trips can add up.

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Weather in Sacramento

Sacramento's Mediterranean climate brings hot, arid and clear summers as well as short, cold and partly cloudy winters. The idyllic climate is one of the city's biggest drawcards, with the many sunny days making it an ideal spot for agriculture and tourism.

In the midst of summer, though, the heat can be overwhelming, especially around July and August. During this time of year, the mercury can often reach 93°F (34°C), and it's best to stay indoors during the hottest hours of the day. Meanwhile, winter temperatures can be fairly chilly, dropping as low as 39°F (4°C).

Working in Sacramento

As California's capital, Sacramento is a buzzing centre of government services, and this is where most of the city's population finds work. Other major industries include healthcare, retail, agriculture, tourism and manufacturing.

By and large, Sacramento's work culture is laid-back, as is typically the case throughout California (though this can vary by industry). Individuality, hard work and ambition are admired, and those with drive are sure to make significant career progress here.

To find out more about California's economy, work prospects and culture, have a look at Working in San Francisco.

Accommodation in Sacramento

A wide variety of accommodation types to suit all needs can be found in Sacramento. From compact apartments and to sprawling ranches and spacious freestanding family homes, there are plenty of options. As one of the first cities to be built after California was made a state, Sacramento is rich in history, and its housing options reflect that. Much of the accommodation built in the 1800s is still used today.

To get an idea of what's available, start by browsing online property portals such as Zillow, Trulia and Apartments.com. If you're brand new to the area, hiring a local estate agent can be helpful, as they have local knowledge and experience and may have access to listings before they go on the market.

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Lifestyle in Sacramento

The lifestyle in Sacramento is excellent, and there always seems to be something new and exciting going on. With buzzing sports, entertainment, cuisine and culture scenes, you'd be hard-pressed to be bored here.

Sacramento's perennially sunny weather makes it a perfect spot for agriculture, and the city has a robust farm-to-fork movement to match. Fans of fresh, locally sourced fare will be spoilt for choice here. An abundance of wineries and breweries is another perk of living in Sacramento, and tastings are a wonderful way to spend an afternoon or evening.

Sacramento is abuzz with activity year-round as exciting cultural, art and sporting events take place. Wide Open Walls Festival is a highlight, as artists are invited to paint outdoor murals throughout the city. Sports lovers can make themselves at home by supporting one of the local teams, such as the Sacramento Kings (NBA) or the Sacramento Republic FC (soccer).

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Expat Health Insurance

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