Best Cities 2010: Bakersfield, CA

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Best Cities 2010: Bakersfield, CA

Birth of the style of music called the Bakersfield sound, this city was a final destination for many people escaping the Dust Bowl

City: Bakersfield

State: California

Best Cities Overall Rank: 85

About Bakersfield:

Music fans take note! In the 1950s, local country musicians such as Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and Wynn Stewart helped invent a rock and roll-influenced country music style called the Bakersfield sound. Their influence was so great that Bakersfield is second only to Nashville, Tennessee, in country music fame.

Many Bakersfield residents have ancestors who migrated to the area from the Midwest during the Dust Bowl. In John Steinbeck’s historical novel The Grapes of Wrath, Bakersfield is one of the locations that the protagonists pass through.

County: Kern

Population: 321,078

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitors’ bureau website

Newspaper with the largest circulation: Bakersfield Californian

Bakersfield blogs:
Raising Bakersfield
Bakersfield Observed
The Grade

Bakersfield‘s Facebook page: Follow Bakersfield on Facebook

Bakersfield‘s Twitter page: Follow Bakersfield on Twitter

Education rank: 100

High School graduation rate 2008: 77.40%

Blue Ribbon Schools, 2003-2009: 1

Blue Ribbon Schools per 100,000 people: 0.31

NEAYC-accredited preschools: 1

NAEYC schools per 100,000 people: 0.31

NAEP State proficiency reading, grade 8: 253

Pupil/Teacher Ratio: 21.45

Total Expenditures Per Student: $10,575


Health rank: 91

Quality children’s hospitals: 0

Hospitals per 100,000 people: 0

Quality Pediatricians: 0

Quality Pediatricians per 100,000: 0

Average number of Unhealthy Air Quality days between 2006-2008, by county: 35.67


Safety rank: 66

Violent Crimes, 2008: 2077

Violent Crime Rate per 100,000: 646.88

Sex Offenders: 1031

Sex Offenders per 100,000: 321.105


Economy rank: 76

Travel time to work, 2006-2008, in minutes: 21.5

Percent of labor force unemployed, January 2010: 17.10

Best Performing Cities Job Index: 645.13

Median Home Sale Price: $162,300

5-Year Home Value Index: -9.85%

Percent of homes sold for a loss: 40.54%


Recreation Rank: 15

Parkland acreage, 2008 (includes pools and playgrounds): 8,100

Parkland per 100,000: 2,522.75


Photo courtesy of Bobak Ha’Eri