- As San Francisco becomes more expensive and overcrowded, many Bay Area residents have flocked to California’s capital city, Sacramento.
- In addition to cheaper rents and more spacious real estate, the move could come with an added benefit.
- Sacramento is considered the most earthquake-proof city in California, a state that could by struck by the next "Big One" at any moment.
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Add to that the threat of impending earthquakes and you have a recipe for a mass exodus. Between 2010 and 2018, San Francisco County lost nearly 3,000 net domestic residents — a sign that locals are steadily fleeing their neighborhoods.
In all likelihood, these moves aren’t motivated by fears of the next "Big One" — a magnitude 8.0 earthquake that could ripple through San Francisco at any moment. But as locals trade their cramped, expensive apartments for more spacious pastures, many have opted to move to nearby Sacramento, one of the few California cities that’s practically earthquake-proof.
Pacific Southwest Region USFWS/Flickr
Though no city is entirely safe from earthquakes, the Los Angeles Times recently reported that Sacramento is the safest metropolitan area for earthquakes in all of California, based on its location, topography, and history of quakes.
One of the city’s greatest advantages is that it doesn’t have many active fault lines nearby. San Francisco, on the other hand, is located directly along the San Andreas fault — the 750-mile fault line that could produce the next "Big One."
US Geological Survey
Historically speaking, the city has been about as risk-free as it gets. Maps from the United States Geological Survey and California Department of Conservation show that Sacramento has escaped significant earthquakes over the last century.
San Francisco, meanwhile, has already endured the most fatal earthquake in US history — a 1906 temblor that killed up to 3,000 people. The city now has a 72% chance of seeing a 6.7 -magnitude quake or greater by 2043.
For those looking to escape this scenario, and other natural disasters, Sacramento may be a solid choice. Last year, a group of climate scientists identified Sacramento as one of the best places to live in the US to avoid the cumulative effects of climate change, including hurricanes, droughts, and sea level rise.
When it comes to flooding, however, the city is one of the riskiest places in the country — a reminder that, no matter where you move, climate change can’t be outrun.
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