Study Outlines Barebones Salaries Needed in California

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The report by the California Budget Project looks at wages needed to pay for the bare minimum.   No savings, no vacations, no D-S-L….  

Executive Director Jean Ross says the report includes costs for housing, child care, transportation and food.  A singe person needs to make more than 28-thousand dollars a year to pay for those—a family of four with two working parents needs a whopping 72-thousand plus.  A two parent family with one working parent needs just over 50-thousand dollars.  Ross says Californians have a variety of ways of dealing with the high costs. 

 “They may be living in sub-standard housing, they may be using consumer debt to bridge that gap…” 

The report breaks down costs and budgets by region—the Bay Area is the most expensive.

Breaking down the Sacramento Region

So where does the Sacramento region line up in that report?  Not surprisingly, it's cheaper here than the big cities and more expensive than the Central Valley and the rural Northern part of the state.

The study says it costs more than $26,000 for a single adult to live here and nearly $70,000 for a two-parent family when both work.

But the gap between our region and the pricey Bay Area is narrowing.  That's according to Sacramento State public policy professor Rob Wassmer.

"That's largely coming through housing prices.  Regardless of the prices coming down recently, the prices relative to the Bay Area have risen in Sacramento -- and that's being reflected in this report."

There is a silver lining in the report for locals, though.  If you want to buy the typical Sacramento-area home with a 20% down payment, you need to make about $64,000 a year.  The median income is only about $10,000 below that -- six times less than the big cities and the smallest gap in the state.