Between 19, Bakersfield grew 400% (from 70,000 to 347,483), Bakersfield's close proximity to mountain passes, primarily the Tejon Pass on Interstate 5 between the Los Angeles metropolis and the central San Joaquin Valley, has made the city a regional transportation hub. In 2010, the Bakersfield MSA had a gross metropolitan product of .466 billion, making it the 73rd largest metropolitan economy in the United States.
Bakersfield lies near the southern "horseshoe" end of the San Joaquin Valley, with the southern tip of the Sierra Nevada just to the east.
The area was subject to periodic flooding from the Kern River, which occupied what is now the downtown area, and experienced outbreaks of malaria.
The Bakersfield–Delano Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Kern County, had a 2010 census population of 839,631, making it the 62nd largest metropolitan area in the United States.
Bakersfield was spared, experiencing minor architectural damage without loss of life.
A large aftershock occurred on July 29, and did minor architectural damage, but raised fears that the flow of the Friant-Kern Canal could be dangerously altered, potentially flooding the city and surrounding areas.
The earthquake, which measured 7.5 on the moment magnitude scale and was felt from San Francisco to the Mexican border, destroyed the nearby communities of Tehachapi and Arvin.
The earthquake's destructive force also bent cotton fields into U shapes, slid a shoulder of the Tehachapi Mountains across all four lanes of the Ridge Route, collapsed a water tower creating a flash flood, and destroyed the railroad tunnels in the mountain chain.