16 Pros and Cons of Living in Bakersfield, CA

Updated On October 9, 2023
Bakersfield, CA

I just learned about Bakersfield, CA.

I’m not as impressed as I am with other locations, such as Jupiter, Florida.

It does have its pros as well as its cons though. 

Bakersfield, CA
Bakersfield, CA

Pros of Living in Bakersfield, CA

1. One of CA’s Cheapest Places 

I think it’s a miracle that people can even afford to live in Bakersfield.

After all, the cost of living for the entire state of California ranks about 40% higher than the national average.

Housing in this state typically costs twice as much as in the rest of America too. 

If you want to live in a place that’s not terribly far away from Los Angeles but cheaper, Bakersfield might be your choice.

Housing costs about 64.8% less here than in LA. 

Overall, living expenses total about 40.8% less than LA.

Health care expenses are a little less than in LA or other CA locations too. 

2. Proximity to Large Cities (If You Want That)

Not everyone cares that Bakersfield is only two hours from Los Angeles, but that might matter to you.

If so, I don’t see why you wouldn’t want to make Bakersfield your home based on just this priority.

That probably won’t be your only consideration though, and I understand that. 

Either way, you might as well go the extra 30 minutes and pay Long Beach a visit after you hit Los Angeles.

Otherwise, just visit cities near you, such as Glendale, which you can drive to from Bakersfield in about an hour and 45 minutes. 

Another major CA city a little further away is Fresno, which is about an hour and 36 minutes of driving from here.

Just for fun, I decided to see how far away Los Vegas is from Bakersfield.

It’s only four hours, which doesn’t seem much considering you have to cross the state line. 

3. Mostly Sunny Year Round

I found out Bakersfield has an average of 272 days of sunshine.

It also averages about seven inches of rain per year too. 

Increased sunshine can benefit you if you’re prone to lower moods during winter where you live now.

That’s because the extra light elevates the chemicals in your brain that lead to a positive mood. 

Extra sunny days also give you chances to do more of what you want to do.

Maybe you like to swim, kayak, hike or go boating and fishing.

Most of this happens on the Kern River, the city’s primary water spot.

You also can camp on the grounds here. 

4. An Active, Lively City

You won’t likely feel bored when living in Bakersfield.

There’s Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace, for instance.

Here, you can bite into some steak while viewing a 40-year collection of memorabilia.

It’s based on Owen’s country career. 

You also might enjoy the California Living Museum if you love animals.

If you have children, you also can enjoy The Big Red Barn, which offers fresh farm food, games, and animal rides. 

If green space is more what you’re looking for, there’s also The Park at River Walk.

You also might enjoy Peacocks at Hart Park.

It’s home to 100 species of trees in addition to the peacocks that inhabit here. 

5. Decent Economy and Job Market 

If you’re hoping to find gainful employment, Bakersfield may have more opportunities with fewer applicants than larger cities.

Primary industries are agriculture and distribution. 

I was impressed to learn that Bolthouse Farms is here.

That’s one of my favorite juice brands, and I’d recommend that as an employer.

Oil and energy sectors also make up their economy. 

6.  Country Music Lover Haven

In the 1950s, Bakersfield became known as the “Country Music Capital of the West Coast.”

It also received the nickname “Nashville West.” 

Eventually, a new development happened.

“Bakersfield Sound” was born.

Just about every single style of Country musician has performed here.

Popular acts that made history here include Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and Dwight Yoakam. 

Country isn’t my favorite type of music.

If that’s your favorite, however, I can see why you’d enjoy living in Bakersfield. 

7. Well-Established Schools

Not all the schools in Bakersfield rank the highest in California or the United States.

However, they are well-established and do still offer decent educational opportunities. 

In case you’re wondering, the top three highest-ranked high schools include Delano (#1), Robert F. Kennedy (#2), and Stockdale High Schools (#3).

Delano High School has an impressive 98% graduation rate.

Stockdale comes in at 97%, and Kennedy is at 96%.  

8. RV Parks

For anyone looking to stay for long periods in an RV, Bakersfield has a couple of good RV parks.

There are several within 30 minutes of the city.

You could park at River Run, Bakersfield Resort, Orange Grove, or A Country RV Park.

9. Solar Power Opportunities 

With all the sunshine in Bakersfield, you shouldn’t have much problem running solar power.

You can harness that energy and store it on rechargeable batteries too.

Cons of Living in Bakersfield, CA

1. High Wildfire Risk

You probably have heard of the wildfires that break out near Los Angeles.

Another place at high risk is Bakersfield. Droughts, 100+ temperature heat waves, and lack of rain are major causes. 

It’s not on the top 10 list of most percentage of people at risk.

However, significant incidents have occurred.

For instance, the Stagecoach fire reported on August 6, 2020 spread near the Sequoia National Forest about 21 miles east of Bakersfield about nine miles from Lake Isabella. 

On the other hand, a 2022 report does say that most wildfires are caused by humans.

Still, dry locations do make fires worse. 

2. Complaints About Public Transportation 

I find it odd that a city with more than 700,000 people living in it supposedly doesn’t have public transportation.

Apparently, no one can easily get around in Bakersfield without a car.

If you heard that they have no public transportation, however, that’s a rumor. 

They do have local buses. In addition, this transit center offers an on-demand transit option.

I don’t know why people here complain about transportation so much. 

Maybe the transit frequency of every 30 minutes at each stop isn’t often enough though.

I did also see that it doesn’t run that late in the evening.

I like the fact that it at least runs on the weekends, however.

Where I’m from in Wisconsin, it doesn’t even run on Sundays. 

3. High Violence Ratings

I didn’t realize Bakersfield has 718,000 people in it as of 2022.

Until I found out how many people live here, it shocked me that there were 692 violent crimes per 100,000 people in it (2020). 

I hoped it would be a safer alternative to Los Angeles or other large cities, but it’s not really.

It measures only about five points lower than Los Angeles for violent crime (24/100).

It’s two points higher than the national average of 22.7. 

4. High Theft Ratings 

Bakersfield experiences almost 8.7 cases of theft per 1,000 people.

Additional crimes committed include burglary (~7.9 per 1k), vehicle theft (3.81), and arson (.35 per 1K).

The property crime/theft totals 20.79 cases per 1,000 people. 

5. Lower-than-average Salaries

You have an excellent chance of finding a job in Bakersfield.

However, one source said that the average salary in Bakersfield is lower than the national average.

That’s a bummer because the cost of living here is about 2% higher than in the rest of the country. 

6. Unbearable Heat Waves

Aside from causing wildfires, almost 300 days of sun isn’t always a “good” thing.

Sometimes, Bakersfield endures stretches of temperatures of 100 degrees F or more for days.

It’d be tough to live without an air conditioner, and this could also raise your energy bill. 

7. Natural Disaster Risk 

The Bakersfield Metropolitan Area sits on a seismic fault.

It makes this city susceptible to earthquakes. USA.COM says that the chances of earthquakes are lower than in the rest of California but higher than the national average. 

Bakersfield also sometimes has tornadoes.

However, the probability comes in lower than California and the national average. 

Bakersfield, CA
Bakersfield, CA

Pros and Cons of Living in Bakersfield, CA – Summary Table

Pros of Living in Bakersfield, CACons of Living in Bakersfield, CA
1. One of CA’s Cheapest Places 1. High Wildfire Risk
2. Proximity to Large Cities (If You Want That)2. Complaints About Public Transportation 
3. Mostly Sunny Year Round3. High Violence Ratings
4. An Active, Lively City4. High Theft Ratings 
5. Decent Economy and Job Market 5. Lower-than-average Salaries
6.  Country Music Lover Haven6. Unbearable Heat Waves
7. Well-Established Schools7. Natural Disaster Risk 
8. RV Parks
9. Solar Power Opportunities 

Bakersfield Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Bakersfield Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Bakersfield near the ocean?

You can drive to Santa Maria, which is about 2 hours and 15 minutes from Bakersfield.

Santa Maria, which is only five miles from at least a couple of beaches.

Do you need an air conditioner in Bakersfield?

That’s probably the easy way to stay cool.

You might want to consider having spray bottles, a fan, and a supply of ice for outage emergencies though.

If your electricity goes out because of a storm, or disaster, it’s helpful to have solar power too.

How hot does it get in Bakersfield, CA?

It’s not uncommon for temperatures to stay in the 90s for days.

It sometimes reaches more than 100 degrees.

This location has seen some 104-degree days.

What is the main industry in Bakersfield?

Agriculture seems to dominate.

However, this location also extracts petroleum and refines oil.

They also have production plants.

Are there safe Bakersfield neighborhoods?

Some neighborhoods recommended are Olde Stockdale, Tevis Ranch, Seven Oaks, and Amberton.

You’ll find more green space and suburban communities in some sections of these streets.

Why is Bakersfield a good place to live?

It does have the Sequoia National Forest.

It has an extensive musical history and culture.

It’s also cheaper to live in than Los Angeles, San Francisco, Hollywood, and other CA cities.

Does Bakersfield have beaches?

Beach Park is about four minutes from downtown.

It’s on the Kern River.

You can take walks, bike and play softball or have a picnic.

Of course, dipping into the river is an option, especially on a hot day.

Beach Park is public.

This location also has Coconut Joe’s Private Beach Club.

5 Comments on 16 Pros and Cons of Living in Bakersfield, CA

  1. N
    Nunya business says:

    Very helpful for my informational project on Bakersfield! ☺️

  2. A
    Anonymous says:

    very good that help me to make decision to move and live there or not.

  3. J
    Joseph Oliver says:

    The cultural scene is thriving, with museums, theaters, and live music venues that provide entertainment and opportunities for artistic expression.

  4. M
    Matt Howell says:

    Bakersfield offers a more affordable cost of living compared to many other California cities, making it an attractive option for families and individuals looking to settle down.

  5. P
    Pamela Jacobs says:

    The city is known for its rich agricultural heritage, and you can savor some of the freshest produce at local farmers’ markets and enjoy a variety of delicious cuisine.

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