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alifornia was still under Mexican rule, the City rapidly grew throughout the 1840s and 1850s. By the early 1850s, it was already the state’s capital, a distinction which it still holds today.

Long an economic boom town, Sacramento’s population exploded in the late 1840s as gold miners flocked to the state to seek their fortunes. The city is located just a few miles upriver from the site of the famous Mother Lode, a gold deposit so rich that many prospectors became wealthy with nothing more than pick axes and tin pans. Sacramento’s fortunes didn’t slow from there.

Through the 1860s, the city quickly established itself as a major stop along the transcontinental railroad. By 1900, the city had a population of 30,000. The population once again exploded in the middle of the 20th century, driven by a pleasant year-round climate and a surplus of jobs in the government, finance and manufacturing sectors.

Today, Sacramento is the state’s capital and sixth largest city. It is one of the most ethnically diverse large cities in the country, with major populations of Whites, Hispanics, Chinese and Blacks and no clear majority. It is also located at the northernmost point of California’s Central Valley, one of the richest farming areas in the world. The area is responsible for the near entirety of the nation’s output of certain crops. Over 99 percent of all dates, almonds, kiwifruit, olives and pistachios consumed in the United States are produced within 100 miles of Sacramento.

But despite an apparently thriving economy, not all of Sacramento’s residents have fared so well. At $289,000, the median home price is cheap by California standards, but it’s still very expensive when compared to regions like the Midwest. This means that many in Sacramento cannot afford their own home. As elsewhere with expensive housing prices, this also tends to make the average cost of rental units quite high, leading to issues with the overall affordability of living in the city.

What’s more, the city’s residents took a huge hit during the housing crisis of 2007. While Sacramento’s housing market has recovered to a remarkable degree relative to other California towns, many of its most vulnerable residents lost everything in the housing crisis when their houses were foreclosed.

The city’s official unemployment rate is not outrageously high. At 6 percent, it’s just a hair over that of the 5.5 percent for the >state as a whole. But this belies the huge non-participation rate in the labor force. In truth, many of Sacramento’s residents have simply stopped looking for work or are reliant on government subsidies for their living expenses.

All this paints a picture considerably bleaker than the official statistics may lead us to believe. For Sacramento residents who are facing intractable debt, many have opted to go the route of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. But for many, there may be less extreme options that still preserve their ability to maintain a normal financial life. For many, debt settlement may provide a middle ground, a way to completely get rid of debt while maintaining credit ratings and the ability to get mortgages, auto loans and consumer credit.

How can debt settlement be put to work for Sacramento residents?

Debt settlement can be a very attractive option. This is because it can accomplish many of the same goals as a bankruptcy but without the hideous costs. A good debt settlement company may be able to reduce the principal owed by more than 50 percent. In some cases, reductions of as much as 75 percent may be possible. The reason they can strike such fantastic deals is because, unlike individual consumers, large debt settlement companies may represent thousands of accounts with each major creditor.

A single individual may not even be able to gain access to a corporate decision maker. Someone with a $10,000 debt who would like to pay it off for $5,000 may ultimately succeed, but it’s just as likely that the person authorized to make that call on the creditor’s behalf will never learn of the consumer’s offer, will want to hold out for more money, perhaps because he calculates that the consumer is unlikely to declare bankruptcy, or will simply regard the offer as insignificant and ignore it.

On the other hand, a large debt settlement company may be able to offer than same creditor a lump-sum settlement of $5,000,000 on $10,000,000 worth of outstanding debt. Any creditor will be very tempted to take this offer, even if there are loans contained in that tranche of debts that he thinks he could collect on. The reason is that, statistically, the creditor knows that he is likely to only be able to collect pennies on the dollar for those non-performing loans. And it will take up valuable administrative resources to even get that. Here, he is being offered a lump sum to walk away and be done with it, never having to spend another second or another company dime on collections efforts. This is actually a sweet deal for all parties involved and illustrates why debt settlement can be a great avenue for those drowning in unmanageable debt.