Pros and cons of living in Bakersfield, California

Are you planning to move to Bakersfield? Then you’ll want to know the ins and outs of the city and its livability. So, what’re the pros and cons of living in Bakersfield?

Bakersfield is an oil city two hours away from Los Angeles. The advantages of living in the city include good public schools, affordability, low taxes, and multiple activities. However, there are disadvantages, such as pollution, crime rate, car dependency, natural disaster risks, and hot weather.

As a city with both good and bad sides, it’s up to you to decide if you should move there. But before you do that, you need to understand what Bakersfield is all about so you know what to expect.

Pros of Living in Bakersfield

There are several advantages to living in Bakersfield. Here are some of them

Proximity to Los Angeles

Bakersfield is one of the largest and most populous cities in the state. It has a suburban feel to it which makes it great in its laidback way. But it’s also close enough to Los Angeles if you’re planning to check out a much bigger and exciting city. By car, it’s less than two hours away from Los Angeles, giving you the opportunity of exploring the city anytime you wish to.

Good Public School System

If you’re moving with children, schools will be one of the things you have to consider. Fortunately, Bakersfield got you covered because it has some of the best public schools in the country. There are eight middle and high schools and thirty-three elementary schools in the Bakersfield City School District. In addition, the Kern High School District further provides 18 additional campuses.

Not only are there enough public schools in the city, but there are also several excellent schools in the area. You can easily find a good one in your neighborhood.

  1. Cost of Living

While Bakersfield might not be the cheapest place to live in the US, it’s one of the most affordable cities in California. The cost of living here is only 2.6% higher than the national average. It’s far below the California average. Grocery, housing, healthcare, and transport costs are less here than the California average.

While housing in California is costly, you can still get affordable housing and rent here. The average cost of a house is $321,495, which is less than half the California average. In addition, renting a one-bedroom apartment here still costs less than $1000, even below the national average. So, living in Bakersfield means you have unbeatable access to affordable housing.

Low Tax Rates

Although tax rates in California are generally high, Bakersfield manages to have relatively low tax rates compared to other cities in the state and the country. The sales tax in Bakersfield is 8.5%, and the property tax for Kern County, where Bakersfield belongs, is also relatively low. Of course, you still have to pay the state income tax, which is high. But if you have to live in California, Bakersfield has one of the lowest tax burdens.

Several Things to Do

Bakersfield is far from being a boring city. On the contrary, this is a community with a rich heritage and lots of activities all over the year. The sunny weather also means you can spend as much time here as you want. There are many places to go here, from museums to national parks.

Prominent places in the city include the Hart Memorial Park, Fox Theatre, Kern River Parkway Trail, California Living Museum, and Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace.

Cons of Living in Bakersfield

When moving down to Bakersfield, you should also be aware of its negative aspect so you won’t be surprised when you get there. So these are cons of living in the city.

High Crime Rate

Crime is higher here than it should normally be, which is a cause of concern for many. The total crime rate is 85% above the national average, and property crime is 96% higher. Violent crimes in the city are 20% higher. Residents have a 1 in 22 chance of being a crime victim.

With the crime rate, the city has gotten a bad reputation in some areas. But it’s not the worst place to live, considering it’s still safer than 14% of American cities. There are also safe neighborhoods in the city.

Risks of Natural Disasters

The climate here is desert hot, which means the risks of wildfires are more real. Sunshine is a common occurrence, and rain is only for about two months with no snow. All these make it prone to wildfires, a major issue in California, and floods during the rainy month. Earthquake is also an existential threat. Anyone living here should have their emergency kit stocked and stored in an accessible place.


As an oil-producing city, Bakersfield tops the list when it comes to particle pollution in the country. This means you shouldn’t expect much when it comes to air quality. The pollution increases with oil production in the city and Kern County.

Kern County produces 10% of the US oil supply and has the third-largest oil field in the country.

Although the petroleum industry is a major employer of labor in the city and province, the pollution from refineries and oil drilling remains an issue. It gets worse due to the location of the city in the Central Valley, which means the air can’t spread out. Anyone with chronic lung or breathing conditions might find it difficult to live there.

Car-Dependent City

Do you want to move around Bakersfield? You’ll need a car. The city is quite big, which means you can’t just walk or bike it like most cities. Public transport is also not so reliable even though it exists.

Hot Weather

The hot desert climate means it’s hot most days of the year. This can be great at times, but in the summer, the heat can be almost unbearable. There’s little to no humidity, and snow rarely falls here. Bakersfield is also experiencing drought-like most Californian cities.

In Conclusion

Bakersfield is a city where you can enjoy a suburban life with access to the good things of life. But it also has serious issues that might be damaging to the health of some people. However, despite its negatives, it has positives that reflect its character, and moving there won’t be a bad idea after full consideration.