Bakersfield is a city in Kent County, California about 110 miles North of Los Angeles. With a resident population of 380,000, it is the 9th most populous city in California. The population of Bakersfield has received credit for its diversity. Bakersfield is a charter city which means that is governed by the city’s individual charter and not federal law. Bakersfield economy’s largest sectors are agriculture and oil production. Other industries to be found in Bakersfield are manufacturing, mining and food processing. A good city if you are an expat considering moving to California.
Is Bakersfield, California a good place to live? Living in Bakersfield involves living in stunning natural beauty. The residents are polite and the city has a mild suburban atmosphere. Most people are of working age and the crime level is high. The public schools are above average. Therefore, Bakersfield is a relatively good place to live in.
Bakersfield has for a long time been an intermediary city between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Moving to Bakersfield reveals a lively job market and a friendly city in which to dwell. There are also tight-knit communities among the residents of Bakersfield. One thing you can be assured of in Bakersfield is the best fresh produce in the country. For a tiny city, the city surprisingly has 60 parks and is only a quick drive from the Sierra Nevada Mountains California’s national forests. Bakersfield is a great place to live if you are a nature lover moving to California.
Is Bakersfield, California a good place to live? Pros and Cons.
Bakersfield city does not exhibit the inequality typically found in other cities. Despite a higher level of equality than other areas, you’d still be living in California and there are bound to be disparities and crime. Most neighborhoods are safe but if they were to be ranked the best neighborhoods in Bakersfield would be Seven Oaks At Grand Island, River Oaks, Tevis Ranch, The Oaks, Stockdale Estates, Quailwood, CSU Bakersfield and Hillcrest whereas the worst neighborhoods would be Homaker Park, Downtown, Tyner Homes, Lakeview, Rexland Acres, Southgate, Stockdale Greens, East Bakersfield, College Heights-Baker Street, and Benton Park.
Bakersfield is a high crime area with the overall crime rate being 54% higher than the US average. The probability of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime here is 1 in 22. With a crime rate of 46 per 1000 residents, Bakersfield has one of the highest crime rates among communities in the entire country. Violent crimes include armed robbery, assault, rape, and murder. Property crimes include theft, burglary, arson, and vandalism. Bakersfield also has one of the highest levels of motor vehicle crime in the country. Insurance is a must if you live in Bakersfield.
Bakersfield is part of the Kern High School District which is California’s largest school district. The school district operates 28 schools including 15 high schools serving over 35,000 students. There are also several private high schools in the city. California State University, Bakersfield is the prominent tertiary education system in the city and has a population of about 10,000 students. The university offers 31 bachelors and 22 master’s degree programs. National University, University of Phoenix, Fresno Pacific University, University of LaVerne, San Joaquin Valley College and Santa Barbara Business College all have campuses in Bakersfield.
Bakersfield has an immense highway network which comprises of three freeways: State Route 58, State Route 99 and State Route 178. The city is currently one of the biggest cities in the United States that is not directly linked to an Interstate highway. Golden Empire Transit is the major intercity bus provider of Bakersfield and operates 18 bus routes all over the city. Union Pacific and BNSF operate the freight railroads servicing Bakersfield. Passenger trains are operated by Amtrak California on the San Joaquin Route and their trains are boarded at Bakersfield Station. There are plans to build a station in Bakersfield as part of the California high-speed rail system. Meadows Field Airport is the main airport in the Bakersfield area.
Bakersfield’s social life is very diverse. For fans of art and antiques, there is Kern County Museum and the Buena Vista Museum of Natural history. For movie fans, there are five multi-screen cinemas in Bakersfield. Bakersfield Community Theatre also has plenty to offer. For fans of classical music, there is The Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra which is almost a century old. Unfortunately, Bakersfield is not represented in any of the four major American sports league. There are also numerous parks and wilderness for those who like the great outdoors.
Is Bakersfield, California a good place to work?
As mentioned earlier, Bakersfield’s main industries are agriculture and oil production. However, the city has an emerging manufacturing and distribution sector. A number of companies have recently relocated to Bakersfield mainly for its cheap land prices. Bakersfield’s largest employers according to the Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce are the County of Kern, The Giumarra Companies, Grimmway Farms, Bolthouse Farms, Bakersfield Memorial Hospital, City of Bakersfield, Mercy Hospitals of Bakersfield, ARB, Kern Medical Center and State Farm Insurance.
The unemployment rate in Bakersfield is 5.5% which is 1.5% higher than the national average. The average annual income of a Bakersfield resident is $23,786 a year whereas the US average is $28,555 a year. The Median household income of a Bakersfield resident is $56,842 a year while the national average is $53,482 a year.
Is Bakersfield, California a good place to buy a house?
Buying property in Bakersfield requires that you have a property buying guide. The property market is stable with little year to year growth. The median property price in Bakersfield is $226,908 and the median monthly rent is $999. Both are significantly above the national average. Which property you buy or rent and where it is located are the main determinants of a worthy house purchase. Mortgage lenders abide aplenty in Bakersfield so ensure you do your research that you can get the best possible deal.
The best neighborhoods in Bakersfield are Seven Oaks At Grand Island, River Oaks, Tevis Ranch, The Oaks, Stockdale Estates, Quailwood, Csu Bakersfield and Hillcrest whereas the worst neighborhoods are Homaker Park, Downtown, Tyner Homes, Lakeview, Rexland Acres, Southgate, Stockdale Greens, East Bakersfield, College Heights-Baker Street and Benton Park.
The average monthly rent for a single bedroom apartment in Bakersfield is $835. The average rent for a double bedroom apartment is $1020 a month. The average rent for a triple bedroom apartment is $1380 a month. The average monthly rent for a quadruple bedroom apartment is $1625 and the average rent for a quintuple bedroom apartment is $2160 a month.
The average buying price of an apartment with a single bedroom in Bakersfield is $140,600. The average price of an apartment with two bedrooms is $194,050. The average price of an apartment with three bedrooms is $237,640. The average price of a four-bedroom apartment is $294,008. The average price of an apartment with five bedrooms is $340,135.
Is Bakersfield, California a good place to retire?
Retiring in Bakersfield may not be a good idea. US News ranked Bakersfield as the 100th best city to retire in the US. The property prices and rents are higher than the national average, to begin with. Insecurity is also rampant in Bakersfield. The cost of living is also not conducive for most retired citizens who cannot control what they earn. The best neighborhoods in Bakersfield are Seven Oaks At Grand Island, River Oaks, Tevis Ranch, The Oaks, Stockdale Estates, Quailwood, CSU Bakersfield and Hillcrest whereas the worst neighborhoods are Homaker Park, Downtown, Tyner Homes, Lakeview, Rexland Acres, Southgate, Stockdale Greens, East Bakersfield, College Heights-Baker Street and Benton Park.
Retirement properties are scarce in Bakersfield seeing as it is not the best place to retire. If searching for retirement properties in the city, the above real estate figures can be referred to for guidance.
Is Bakersfield, California a good place to visit?
Most visitors to California will either visit San Francisco or Los Angeles. However, there are plenty of attractions in Bakersfield including Kern County Museum, California Living Museum, The Park at River Walk, Buena Vista Museum of Natural History & Science, Panorama Park, Bakersfield Museum of Art and Beach Park.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the cost of living in Bakersfield, California?
Bakersfield’s overall cost of living is 5% higher than the national mean. Bakersfield’s housing expenses are 11% lower than the national mean and the utility prices are 36% higher than the national mean. Transportation expenses in Bakersfield are 17% higher than the national mean. Healthcare in Bakersfield is 6% higher than the national mean.
Is Bakersfield a good place to invest in property?
Bakersfield is not a good place to invest in property. The rents are not as high as you would expect from an area with such high risk. Moreover, there are high vacancy rates in Bakersfield and they are continuing to rise.
Is Bakersfield a good place to raise a family?
Bakersfield is not a great place to raise a family. The cost of living is more expensive than the national average and there is rampant insecurity in the area. The schools are not that good and healthcare costs are expensive too.
About the author: Marta Kovachek is the author of this article. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.