“Hey if I could pay you less I would, but it’s against the law.” That is the state of the minimum wage according to comedian Chris Rock. For many Californians, whether or not to raise the minimum wage is an obvious choice. For some, it would mean more affordable housing. For others, it would mean more financial security and stability for their families. And for those who would depend on the minimum wage the most, it simply isn’t enough.

Although California can be an expensive place to live, Sacramento has been relatively more affordable than many places in the Golden State. According to a Zillow study, however, there is still a wide gap between monthly rent and wages for many in the state capital.

For housing to be considered affordable, occupants should not be spending more than a third of their income on rent. But for many people in the Sacramento area, that would mean earning $50,000 or even $75,000 a year, something that just isn’t reflected in the median wages for those areas around the capital.

Aside from the impact it has on housing affordability, low wages also have a ripple effect on the health and wellbeing of Sacramentans, which can in turn impede productivity.

“Several Sacramento [Building Healthy Community] organizations are leading community campaigns focused on increasing [the] minimum wage,” says Kim Williams, Sacramento BHC Hub Manager. According to Williams, this will “help reduce health disparities for low income workers by promoting the importance of livable wages in worker health in South Sacramento.”

It is clear that increasing the minimum wage is a conversation worth having, assuming the time to talk isn’t already over. According to proponents like Williams, the benefits of a more livable wage outweigh the risks.

Featured image courtesy of Mark Nye (Flickr) under Creative Commons License.