Part of California's Golden Empire, Bakersfield is situated at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley. Partially surrounded by three mountain ranges, Bakersfield boasts The Tremblor Mountains to the west, the Tehachapis to the south, and the Sierra Nevadas to the east. The Kern River flows through the valley, which also boasts 46 parks.
The most populous city in Kern county, Bakersfield (295,893) is the countyseat. Ridgecrest comes in at a distant second (27,725), and Delano at third (22,762). Bakersfield is California's third largest inland city, following Fresno and Sacramento. One of the fastest growing urban centers in the United States, Bakersfield's population boom has become more diverse in the last ten years.
In 2004, Bakersfield residents had a per capita income of $24,335. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis, this income is only 74% of the national average. The average income in Bakersfield grew 8% between 1969-2004.
Government is Bakersfield's largest industry employer. Top government employers include:
- Edwards Air Force Base
- County of Kern
- China Lake Naval Weapons
Agriculture, trade, transportation, and utilities follow government as top employers of Bakersfield residents. The total value of agricultural goods produced in Greater Bakersfield exceeds $1.5 billion a year. Several major employers in the area include.
- Gyumarra Farms
- Grimmway Farms
- Wm. Bolthouse Farms, Inc.
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