Moving to Bakersfield, California

Moving to Bakersfield

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    If you’re contemplating moving to Bakersfield, CA, this blog post will take you through what it’s like to live, feel, and witness in Bakersfield. 

    Bakersfield, the most glorious city in California, is worth a visit or relocation due to its high quality of living, affordable liability, available real estate, vast employment and business opportunities, and all-time favorable weather. 

    Thomas Baker’s baker’s field grew into a hub of music and sound. In 1870, the city had a population of 600; by 2023, it had grown to 416,147 and is still growing. The city has come a long way from being washed away to being known as “The Country Music Capital Of The West.”

    Obsessed with the city’s offerings? Read more and learn about the Texas of California.

    Quick facts regarding moving to Bakersfield, CA.

    Where is Bakersfield, CA, located?

    Bakersfield, California, found in Kern County at the southern tip of the San Joaquin Valley, is roughly 110 miles north of Los Angeles and 275 miles southeast of Sacramento, the state capital.

    The city is situated in the Central Valley region, covering about 151 square miles near the southern terminus of the San Joaquin Valley.

    Population of Bakersfield, CA

    Home to 416,175 residents as of 2023, the population of Bakersfield, CA, comprises-

    • Bakersfield, CA’s population density is 2693 people per every square mile of 149.78 square miles.
    • The median age of Bakersfield, CA, is 31.3 years.
    • The Bakersfield, California, population has been rising at a rate of 3.17% since the 2020 census. 

    Diversity of Bakersfield, CA

    Bakersfield is the 77th most diverse city in the US and ranked 252th most varied place to live in California.

    The largest ethnic groups of Bakersfield, CA, are:

    • Hispanic-52.0%
    • White-30.7%
    • Asian-7.0%
    • Black or African American-7.0%

    How safe is it to live in Bakersfield, CA?

    The crime rate of Bakersfield, California, is higher than the national average, at 48 crimes per 1,000 residents. This places it among the highest crime rates in the United States for communities of all sizes.

    • According to a survey, 51% of respondents considered the city safe, while 27% felt somewhat safe. Conversely, 6% of respondents consistently felt unsafe.
    • The likelihood of falling victim to violent crime in Bakersfield is 1 in 203, and property crime is 1 in 23, respectively.
    • Violent crimes in Bakersfield, CA, encompass armed robbery, aggravated assault, rape, and murder, resulting in an overall violent crime rate of 491 per 100,000 residents. This rate surpasses the national average of 381 per 100,000 and California’s overall rate of 447 per 100,000.

    The safe neighborhoods in Bakersfield, CA are:

    • Stockdale Estates
    • Hillcrest
    • Artisan
    • Terra Vista
    • CSU Bakersfield
    • Olde Stockdale
    • Seven Oaks

    Cost of Living in Bakersfield, CA

    As of 2023, Bakersfield, CA, has a cost of living that is slightly above the national average but considerably lower than the state average, as indicated by key statistics:

    • Bakersfield’s cost of living is 10% higher than the national average and 23% lower than the state average.
    • The average income in Bakersfield is $28.51 per hour or $59,299 annually.
    • The average cost of living in Bakersfield, CA, is $1972 per month for a single person and $3851 for a family of four, including rent.
    • The median household income in Bakersfield is $69,014.
    • For comfortable living in Bakersfield, it is recommended to have a minimum annual income of $66,960 for a family and $42,400 for an individual.
    • The living wage in Bakersfield is $15.30 per hour, covering essential expenses like housing, food, and necessities.

    Here is a table summarizing the cost of living in Bakersfield, CA:

    Cost of Living FactorBakersfield, CA
    Cost of Living Index99.8
    Average Income$59,299 per year
    Median Household Income$69,014
    Recommended Minimum Salary$66,960 for a family, $42,400 for a single person
    Median Home Price$462,186
    Average Rent$1,405 per month
    Average Energy Bill$279.73 per month
    Average Phone Bill$300.93 per month
    Average Gas Price$3.95 per gallon
    Average Grocery PricesLoaf of Bread: $4.27, Gallon of Milk: $2.68, Carton of Eggs: $2.48, Bunch of Bananas: $3.70, Hamburger: $5.65
    Average Healthcare CostsDoctor’s Visit: $126.41, Dentist Visit: $109.06, Optometrist Visit: $119.07, Rx Drug: $465.75, Veterinary Visit: $60.88

    The table below describes Bakersfield’s cost of living index compared with state and national averages. 

    COST OF LIVINGBakersfieldCaliforniaUSA

    Job Market in Bakersfield, CA

    The future job growth in Bakersfield, CA, is predicted to be 24.2%, slightly lower than the national average of 33.5%. However, it’s still worth moving to Bakersfield, CA, for a job, as the job market there has seen a 1.2% increase.

    Key sectors expected to contribute the most jobs include educational services, health care, social assistance, government, and professional and business services.

    • The average income for a Bakersfield resident is $23,786 annually, below the US average of $28,555.
    • The median household income in Bakersfield is $69,014 per year, almost matching the US average of $69,021.
    • The average hourly wage in Bakersfield was reported as $27.48.
    • The unemployment rate in Bakersfield stands at 7.5%, exceeding the US average of 6.0%.
    • There is a gender pay gap of $14,894 in Bakersfield, with men earning an average of $60,617 and women earning an average of $45,723.

    The top employers in Bakersfield, CA, are:

    • Adventist Health Bakersfield
    • Bolthouse Farms
    • California Correctional Institution
    • Chevron Corp
    • Community Action Partnership
    • Dignity Health Mercy Downtown
    • Edwards Air Force Base
    • Foster Care Human Service
    • Frito-Lay Inc
    • Grimmway Farms

    The most common job titles in Bakersfield, CA, are:

    • Warehouse Associate
    • Retail Sales Associate
    • Customer Service Representative
    • Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics
    • Registered Nurse
    • Sales Representative
    • Administrative Assistant
    • Housekeeper
    • Program Manager
    • Maintenance Technician

    The highest-paying job profiles in Bakersfield, CA, are as follows:

    • Travel Nurse.
    • Construction.
    • Registered Nurse (RN).

    How much are the tax rates in Bakersfield, CA

    Before moving to Bakersfield, CA, you must learn that as a salaried employee in the city, you must pay the combined sales tax rate, property tax rates in Kern County, and California’s progressive income tax rates.

    • Sales Tax: Bakersfield’s combined sales tax rate is 8.25% (including state, county, and city rates).
    • Property Tax: 0.71% of assessed value.
    • Income Tax: California’s progressive income tax system has nine rates, ranging from 1% to 12.3%. 

    Housing market in Bakersfield, CA

    If you plan to buy a home after moving to Bakersfield, CA, be prepared for a competitive market. Homes typically receive multiple offers and sell quickly, with an average time on the market of just 27 days. Key statistics include:

    • The average house price in Bakersfield was $405,000, a 4.0% increase since the previous year.
    • The median sale price of a home in Bakersfield was $400,000 and $226 per square foot, reflecting a 1.3% uptick from the previous year.
    • The owner-occupied housing unit rate from 2017-2021 was 59.9%, from which around 40.1% of the population are renters.
    • Building a house in California, Bakersfield costs $350,000 and $400,000, or $232 per square foot.

    The average rental prices in Bakersfield, CA are as follows:

    The average rent for an apartment in Bakersfield is $1,477

    • The average rent for a studio apartment in Bakersfield is $934
    • The average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Bakersfield is $1,142
    • The average rent for a 2-bedroom apartment in Bakersfield is $1,450
    • The average rent for a 3-bedroom house in Bakersfield is $1,995

    Top neighborhoods in Bakersfield, CA

    The best places to live in Bakersfield, CA, are as follows:

    • Amberton
    • Olde Stockdale
    • Seven Oaks
    • Laurelglen
    • Tevis Ranch
    • Downtown Bakersfield
    • Terra Vista
    • Haggin Oaks
    • Montclair
    • Temescal  

    Education system in Bakersfield, CA

    Bakersfield City School District (BCSD) is California’s largest elementary district, serving around 30,000 students across 44 schools. Bakersfield has a total of 45 public schools.

    • Bakersfield City School District has a student-teacher ratio of 21:1, slightly below the state average.
    • Kern County Community has an even lower ratio of 13:1.
    • Schools in Bakersfield vary in rankings within California, including  Delano High School, ranking 389th, and Bakersfield High School, ranking 986th.
    • Bakersfield was ranked 147th on the list of the least educated cities in the U.S.
    • The state sets Bakersfield College tuition at $46 per unit.
    • California State University–Bakersfield tuition is $7,708 for in-state and $17,212 for out-of-state students.

    Middle schools in Bakersfield, CA:

    • Fruitvale Junior High School
    • Valley Oaks Charter
    • Rosedale Middle School
    • Earl Warren Junior High
    • Freedom Middle School

    Elementary schools in Bakersfield, CA:

    • Ronald Reagan Elementary School
    • William B. Bimat Elementary
    • Highgate Elementary
    • Downtown Elementary
    • Cesar E. Chavez Elementary
    • Valley Oaks Charter
    • Rio Bravo Elementary School
    • Rio Bravo-Greeley Elementary School
    • Dr. Douglas K. Fletcher Elementary
    • Henry Eissler Elementary

    High schools in Bakersfield, CA:

    • Bakersfield High School
    • Frontier High School
    • Stockdale High School
    • Liberty High
    • Centennial High
    • Independence High
    • Highland High
    • Ridgeview High
    • Delano High School
    • Robert F. Kennedy High School

    Colleges and universities in Bakersfield, CA:

    How Fast Can You Commute in Bakersfield, CA?

    The average commute time in Bakersfield, CA, is about 22.6 minutes, shorter than the US average of 26.4 minutes.

    Around 92.3% of Bakersfield residents drive alone to work.

    The public transit systems that work in Bakersfield, CA, are:

    • Golden Empire Transit District (GET): GET runs 16 bus routes in Bakersfield with 88 buses and 19 GET-A-Lift buses, Operating daily, with the same routes.
    • Kern Transit: Kern Transit offers bus services between rural Kern County communities, including Bakersfield, with intercity/regional fixed routes and Dial-A-Ride (DAR) service.
    • AMTRAK: AMTRAK provides rail and bus services in and out of downtown Bakersfield to major California cities. 

    How is the weather year-round in Bakersfield, CA?

    Bakersfield, CA, has a semi-arid climate with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters, varying temperatures from 39°F to 97°F throughout the year.

    • There are two main seasons: a hot season lasting 3.4 months (June 8 to September 20) with an average daily high above 91°F, and a winter season lasting 3.1 months (November 19 to February 23) with an average daily high below 66°F.
    • July is the hottest month, with an average high of 98°F and a low of 71°F. 
    • December is the coldest month, with an average low of 41°F and a high of 60°F.
    • The wetter season is 4.9 months (November 14 to April 10) with over 11% chance of a wet day.
    • Bakersfield gets around 6.47 inches of precipitation, 2 inches of snowfall, and 191 sunny days annually.
    • The Best times to visit Bakersfield, California, are spring and autumn. 

    Things to Do in Bakersfield, CA

    Check out the list of things to do and places to see in Bakersfield, CA:

    • Visit CALM Zoo and botanical garden with over 100 California-native animals.
    • Explore Kern County Museum to discover the region’s history through artifacts and historic homes.
    • Experience Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace, a venue dedicated to country music legend Buck Owens.
    • Enjoy The Park at River Walk with lakes, a vibrant playground, and a scenic amphitheater.
    • Have fun at Murray Family Farms, offering fruit picking, animal encounters, and seasonal events.
    • Discover Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame, honoring contributors to the Bakersfield Sound and beyond.
    • Solve puzzles at Bakersfield Escape Room for a challenging and entertaining team activity.
    • Appreciate art at Bakersfield Museum of Art, featuring diverse exhibitions and educational programs.
    • Explore Wind Wolves Preserve, the West Coast’s largest non-profit preserve, for hiking and wildlife viewing.
    • Take a leisurely walk or enjoy a picnic with stunning sunset views at Panorama Park.
    • Experience craft beer and various brews at Temblor Brewery, a favorite among beer enthusiasts.
    • Venture to Sequoia National Forest for hiking, camping, and the awe-inspiring giant sequoia trees.
    • Immerse yourself in a warm water bath at the Remington Hot Springs, one of the best hot springs in southern California. 

    Pros and Cons of Living in Bakersfield, CA

    Before you move to Bakersfield, California, it’s a good idea to learn about the pros and cons to understand the city better. The table below lists the benefits and drawbacks of living in Bakersfield, CA. 

    Pros of Living in BakersfieldCons of Living in Bakersfield
    Affordable cost of living and housingHigh risk of wildfires
    Proximity to large cities like Los AngelesComplaints about public transportation
    Mostly sunny weatherIncreased crime and violence rates
    Active, lively town with a strong sense of communityHigh theft rates
    A decent economy and job marketLower-than-average salaries
    Opportunities for solar power due to abundant sunshineUnbearable heat waves
    Variety of American, Indian, and Asian cuisinesHigh unemployment rate compared to other major cities in the US
    Relatively low taxesVariety of American, Indian, and Asian cuisines
    Good schools for childrenHigh crime rates
    Little to no trafficThe housing shortage is not a big problem yet, but property prices are rising
    Cultural, nature, and tranquility

    Final Verdict

    With its proximity to major cities like San Diego, Santa Barbara, and San Francisco, Bakersfield is a great place to move to if you’re considering relocating to California. The town offers lower living costs and housing prices than many other metropolitan areas, making it an attractive option for those who want to settle down in a place with a small-town vibe. Bakersfield is worth considering if you’re looking for a city that meets your budget and criteria. So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and make the move to Bakersfield, CA, today!

    Photo Credit: David Seibold