Three Kern County cities were listed among the top 50 worst places to live in America by USA Today.

Through a partner news organization, 24/7 Wall Street, the newspaper ranked Arvin, Taft and California City as being some of the most violent, poor and jobless parts of the country.

Arvin ranked 47th, while Taft came in at 42nd, and California City landed in third place on a list where no city ever wants to find itself.

California City Mayor Chuck McGuire disputed the findings of 24/7 Wall Street, and said the organization had used numbers that were two years out of date.

If they had used more recent numbers, the results would have been different, McGuire said.

"I truly doubt that Samuel Stebbins and Grant Suneson, of 24/7 Wall Street, have ever stepped one foot into our community of California City," McGuire said in an emailed statement, referring to the authors of the story. "If they had, they probably would have gotten lost in our vast 203.6 square miles which includes beautiful desert areas that our out-of-town and local off-roaders call fun, and the great people of this community call home."

The Central Valley faired especially poorly on the list, with eight cities making the list of 50, including the number one spot, Mendota in Fresno County.

To come up with the list, 24/7 Wall Street measured 25 indices broken into four broad categories: affordability, economy, quality of life and community.

From cost of living to the number of hospitalizations that could have been prevented by regular visits to a doctor, 24/7 Wall Street measured as much as it could to come up with what it presented as an all-encompassing view of American cities.

The online publication described California City residents as “some of the most likely to be unemployed” in the country.

With an average unemployment rate of 10.7 percent, 24/7 Wall Street said California City had a 29.9 percent poverty rate, more than double that of the U.S. average.

Arvin and Taft did not fare much better.

24/7 Wall Street pointed out that “Arvin does not have much to offer in the way of cultural or entertainment options,” and it noted that the city is one of the most dangerous places to live in the Bakersfield metro area, with 1,071 violent crimes for every 100,000 residents.

And although Taft had a lower poverty rate than California City, at 24.1 percent, it still had a rate higher than three quarters of all other cities in the United States.

Taft also has a problem with violent crime, the publication said, and lower property values when compared to the rest of California.

“The area’s high violent crime rate may be suppressing property values,” 24/7 Wall Street said in its report.

Outside of Kern County, other cities in the Central Valley also made the list, including Orange Cove in Tulare County, Firebaugh in Fresno County and Corcoran and Avenal in Kings County.

Places with fewer than 8,000 residents were not included in the list.

You can reach Sam Morgen at 661-395-7415 or You may also follow him on Twitter @smorgenTBC.

(15) comments


Lets see - SF with it's feces covered sidewalks and homeless encampments in every park didn't make the list, or LA with it's Typhus outbreak so bad they are talking of ripping the carpets out of city hall is ok, but Arvin doesn't have a major museum so it gets tagged?
The big city liberals of Wall Street 24/7 who made up this list surely are an enlightened lot, or depending on your point of view, what a bunch of pinheads.


Arvin was the 47th worst for its violent crimes per capita. It's in the article.


How did Trona escape the list??

Gary Crabtree

I've been to both Hawaii cities. What they have in common is homeless and drugs. Could that be the same for the rest of them?


Arvin has good company--Atlanta (was 47?), Salt Lake City (home of Mormon Temple?), Tacoma (???) . . . & sorry to hear nearby Taft is now Nationally Notorious.

Stating the obvious

All 3 Kern cities on this list are clearly "BLUE" shi+hole cities where no one who can read would want to live.


Interesting that the CA cities that made the list are ALL in the "Red" part of thestate. IT cannot be stated enough that conservatives make things worse, not better , with out fail. In fact many of the cities nationwide on this list are in very red states. This is not surprising.

Bakersfield Bob

The three states with the worst business tax climate index scores, according to the Tax Foundation are California, New York and New Jersey. All three states are big blue states.


Aw Shucks . . . does that mean "The Blues" are always gonna have . . . "the Blues" . . . ?
"Best-Run States Are Low-Tax Republican, Worst-Run Are High-Tax Democratic,
Study Finds"


Arvin is Red? Please stop spreading your #FakeCNN news here JWS. The only thing red about Arvin is its school colors. It's as blue as all sanctuary cities in CA & fighting for pot capital of kern county with California city.


That's the problem with all of these cities in California quit competing to be number one combined together and make number one and will be the best state it is. But then again I'm 56 years old and too old to be in conflict with you individuals. And as far as pot goes if you haven't noticed as of 2016 anyone 21 and over can do that without parents permission or approval


We did notice. And the results are in: the most violent city in the Bakersfield metro area in 2017, Arvin, Ca. How many murders in 2017? Was it 17 or there abouts in Arvin/Lamont? Were all related to drugs? Competition? How about in 2018? Are homicides and shootings trending up? I thought pot made you mellow out?


I wonder . . . ?
"The analysis revealed that, overall, marijuana users were indeed cognitively worse off than nonusers in late adolescence. But the users were also worse off before they started using pot."
Hmmmm . . . does that mean that pot users were "stupid" before becoming "more stupid" . . . ?


Gosh, . . . " . . . conservatives make things worse . . ."
Really . . . ?
"By and large, though, cities hold the weaker hand. It makes sense that these areas, finding themselves economically vital, increasingly progressive, and politically disempowered, would want to use local ordinances as a bulwark against conservative state and federal policies. But this gambit is likely to backfire. Insofar as states have sometimes granted cities leeway to enact policy in the past, that forbearance has been the result of political norms, not legal structures. Once those norms crumble, and state legislatures decide to assert their authority, cities will have very little recourse."


Let's see. One city has an immature wannabe socialist as a Mayor and another city is the Metn Capital of the world. Shocker

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.