Fun Facts and Stats About Bakersfield & Kern County

As of the 2020 census, Kern County’s population exceeded 900,000.

Bakersfield is the county seat of Kern County with a population of almost 420,000. 

Kern County spans the southern end of California’s Central Valley and covers over 8,000 square miles. 

Kern County is bordered in the east by the Mojave Desert, which extends west over the southern slope of the eastern Sierra Nevada mountain range to its western border at the Coast Ranges. It’s bordered in the north by Tulare County and in the south by Los Angeles County, which extends eastward from Frazier Park to the Antelope Valley.

Kern County’s economy is inexorably linked to the petroleum and agriculture industries. The county also boasts a strong military, aviation, and space industry; which includes China Lake Naval Weapons Center, Edwards Air Force Base, and the Mojave Air & Space Port. The economy has also become more diversified into health care, manufacturing, and logistics due to its optimal geographical location.

Bakersfield Ranks High

  • Consistently one of the fastest growing cities in California.
  • One of the most affordable housing markets in the nation.
  • One of the top cities in the nation for job creation. 

Kern County Ranks High

  • #2 in agricultural production in the nation.
  • #7 in oil production in the nation.
  • #3 in economic diversity with a mix of industries including agriculture, oil and gas, aerospace and defense, and healthcare.

Central Valley Economic Production

CountyGDP (Billions)
San Joaquin$28.40
Merced $9.20
Madera $6.30
Kings $6.20

Total Payroll By Industry In Kern County

IndustryPayroll (Millions)
Administrative, Support & Waste Management$655
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting$2,491
Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation$59
Educational Services$1,670
Finance and Insurance$347
Healthcare and Social Assistance$2,204
Mining, Quarrying, and Oil & Gas Extraction$770
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services$790
Public Administration$2,219
Real Estate and Rental & Leasing$208
Retail Trade$1,089
Transportation and Warehousing$941
Wholesale Trade$524

Cost of Living

Compared to earning $60,000 per year in Kern County, check out how much further your money will go compared to other areas in the state.

AreaAnnual Salary NeededCost of Living
San Francisco$110,34984% less in Kern
Oakland$88,34647% less in Kern
Orange County$83,32739% less in Kern
Los Angeles$81,61836% less in Kern
San Diego$79,02632% less in Kern

Median Home Prices

🏠 It’s no wonder there has been a 100% increase in out-of-town home buyers since 2016!

San Francisco$1,630,000
San Diego$875,000
Los Angeles$800,960

Aerospace & Defense

Edwards Air Force Base has an annual economic impact of $2.27 billion. The base creates over 10,000 jobs for the region, with an annual payroll over $600 million.

China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS)’s economic impact is $1.2 billion, with over 5,000 employees and annual payroll over $500 million.

NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center is NASA’s home for high-risk flight research, advancing technologies for both air and space flight. It employs nearly 1,200 employees with $308 million budget. 

Mojave Air & Space Port at Rutan Field has seen dramatic growth due to increased demand within both the private and government sectors. It employs over 2,500 people on cutting edge projects, by Stratolaunch, Virgin Orbit, Boom Supersonic, and many more.

Energy & Natural Resources

Kern County is the 7th largest oil-producing county in the nation, yielding 103 million barrels of oil and 124 million cubic feet of gas annually, according data from 2020 Drilling Edge.

The county’s 282,000 daily barrel production represents 70% of California’s total oil production. 

In Kern County, $80,835 is the average annual wage for oil & gas, while $53,285 is the average annual wage for all industries.

Kern County is home to the world’s largest borax mine Rio Tinto Minerals, Boron Operations which produces nearly half of the world’s borates.

One of two precious metal mines in California is in Kern County, the Golden Queen Mining Company in Mojave.

Solar & Wind

Kern County is the leading renewable energy center in the United States and is home to the nation’s largest wind and solar plants. Current projects produce over 17,000 MWs of energy in the region.

More than $60 billion has been invested in the county’s renewable energy projects, creating over 8,500 construction jobs and 1,500 operational jobs.

Kern County was recently named the wind capital of the entire world! The region has a total wind power capacity of 4 gigawatts and more turbines than the entire northeastern region of the U.S.


Bakersfield and the surrounding Kern County has a wide variety of quality healthcare providers, hospitals, specialty clinics, and physicians.

Kern’s Top 10 Healthcare Providers

  1. Dignity Health – 3,541 Employees
  2. Kern Medical – 2,406 Employees
  3. Adventist Health Bakersfield – 1,929 Employees
  4. Kaiser Permanente – 1,000 Employees
  5. Ridgecrest Regional Hospital – 882 Employees
  6. Omni Family Health – 672 Employees
  7. Adventist Health Delano – 554 Employees
  8. Bakersfield Heart Hospital – 489 Employees
  9. Bakersfield Family Medical Center – 390 Employees
  10. Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley – 308 Employees

California’s Logistics & Distribution Hub

Kern County is California’s geographic center based on weighted population, so it’s the ideal strategic location for logistics operations. It also boasts the lowest shipping costs and carbon footprint for facilities designed to ship to consumers on the West Coast.

Bakersfield provides superior access to west coast ports and the western U.S. population, which is why there are over 50 distribution centers in the area.

  • Access to 14% of the U.S. population within a 300-mile radius.
  • Approximately 70 million U.S. consumers within a 2-day truck turn.
  • Approximately 40 million California consumers within 1-day truck turn.
  • Employees enjoy the best wage-to-living standard ratio of any major logistics hub in the Western 13 states.

Following is a list of select regional distribution centers:

  • Amazon
  • American Tire Distributors
  • Califia
  • Camping World
  • Carquest
  • Caterpillar
  • Dollar General
  • Essendant
  • Famous Footwear
  • Fed Ex
  • Formica Corp.
  • Frito-Lay
  • Hadco
  • Hillman Group
  • Ikea
  • L’Oréal
  • Malouf
  • Men’s Wearhouse
  • MRC Global
  • Nestlé/Dreyer’s
  • Performance Food Group
  • Prime West Warehousing
  • Ross Dress For Less
  • Target
  • Thomson International
  • Walmart
  • U.S. Cold Storage Of CA


Thanks to fertile soils and one of the best climates in the world for fruit and vegetable production, Kern County is the #2 agricultural producer in the United States! 

In 2020, the gross value of all agricultural commodities produced in Kern County was over $7.6 billion. 

Almonds, grapes, citrus, pistachios, and milk alone account for 72% of agriculture’s value, generating more than $5.5 billion.

Top Agriculture Employers:

  • Bolthouse Farms Inc
  • Giumarra Vineyards
  • Grimmway Farms
  • Sun Pacific
  • Tasteful Selections
  • Wonderful Orchards
  • Wonderful Pistachios & Almonds

Top 10 Commodities In Kern County 

CommodityValue (M)
1. Grapes$1,453
2. Citrus, Fresh & Processing$1,303
3. Almonds$1,144
4. Pistachios$944
5. Milk, Market & Manufacturing$662
6. Carrots, Fresh & Processing$464
7. Cattle & Calves$248
8. Pomegranates$125
9. Potatoes$113
10. Apiary$106

Obviously there are many great reasons to live in Bakersfield and Kern County!

Contact us if you need help finding a home or a great Bakersfield Realtor.