In Sacramento, it costs a lot to be poor

It is expensive to be poor in Sacramento. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, a citizen living barely above the poverty line in California during 2017 has an average annual income of $12,060. For the average American, it is safe to say that $12,060 is not enough to live comfortably by today’s standards. When considering budgeting for the annual expenses of owning a car, healthcare, living space, or food it is easy to see that $12,060 is not a lot to survive on.

According to ValuePenguin, the average annual cost of car insurance in California is $1,962. In an article in HowStuffWorks, the average annual cost of car maintenance, oil changes, and other necessities amounts to $3,269 and the cost of gas is $2,208. Considering these individual expenses, owning a car amounts to $7,439 a year in costs.

Living poor and alone in Sacramento is especially expensive. According to RentCafe, the average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Sacramento is $1,088 a month. The San Francisco Gate reported an individual plan’s average cost of healthcare in California is $331 a month or $3,972 a year. A quick Google search reveals that the average American also spends roughly $2,641 per person annually on food.

Other than the overwhelming costs of basic living that the lower-middle or poverty class faces, Apartment List, a renowned website for finding apartments, revealed a tremendous study concerning rental insecurity. According to their statistics, an estimated 3.7 million Americans have experienced eviction and one in five renters were unable to pay their rent in full at least once every three months in 2017. The eviction rate for low-income citizens in Sacramento is 4.4% compared to the national average eviction rate of 3.3%.

Apartment List data determined that eviction often leads to destabilized families and communities, poor educational performance, and increased behavioral problems in children. According to the Independent Budget Office, eviction is the leading cause of homelessness.

“It’s tough trying to make it month by month,” said Dominique Mejia, a student at American River College. “We have a pretty big family, plus we live with our grandparents to cheapen rent. We usually don’t buy food until my sister gets a paycheck by the end of the month, and by that time the only thing we have left is a few canned foods. As for paying bills and rent, our grandparents really help out. If it wasn’t for them, we’d likely be homeless.”