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Oildale, California
—  CDP  —
Location in Kern County and the state of California
Coordinates: 35°25′11″N 119°01′10″W / 35.41972°N 119.01944°W / 35.41972; -119.01944Coordinates: 35°25′11″N 119°01′10″W / 35.41972°N 119.01944°W / 35.41972; -119.01944
Country United States
State California
County Kern
 - N/A
 - Senate Roy Ashburn (R)
 - Assembly Jean Fuller (R)
 - U. S. Congress Kevin McCarthy (R)
 - Total 6.4 sq mi (16.7 km2)
 - Land 6.4 sq mi (16.7 km2)
 - Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation [1] 469 ft (143 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 27,885
 - Density 4,357/sq mi (1,669.8/km2)
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 - Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP code 93308
Area code(s) 661
FIPS code 06-53448
GNIS feature ID 1652762

Oildale (formerly, Waits[1] and North Side[2]) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Kern County, California, United States. Oildale is located 3.5 miles (5.6 km) north-northwest of downtown Bakersfield,[2] at an elevation of 469 feet (143 m).[1] The population was 27,885 at the 2000 census. It is an unincorporated suburban town just north of Bakersfield across the Kern River, west of the Kern River Oilfield, and east of Highway 99.



Much like neighboring Bakersfield, Oildale is a conservative town. Country music legend Merle Haggard and NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick are from Oildale, as is author Gerald Haslam. Because of Oildale's history of Dust-Bowl migrants and, likely, its poverty (20.9% in a county with 20.8%), the town's population is often referred to by various derogatory terms, principally "Oildale Okie." Largely a white working-class enclave, Oildale is often the subject of redneck and white trash jokes, as is nearby Bakersfield.[3]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 6.4 square miles (16.6 km2), all of it land.

Oildale is adjacent to three large oil fields, including two of the largest in California. The enormous Kern River Oil Field to the east and northeast has more active oil wells (9,183 at the end of 2006) than any other field in California except for the Midway-Sunset Oil Field in southwestern Kern County (which has 11,145). Also adjacent is the huge Kern Front Oil Field, north of town, and the smaller Fruitvale Oil Field, to the southwest.[4]


Oildale was founded in 1909 when Samuel Dickinson subdivided his land.[2] The first post office opened at Oildale in 1916.[2]


According to the census[5] of 2000, there were 27,885 people, 10,983 households, and 7,084 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 4,332.3 people per square mile (1,671.8/km²). There were 11,952 housing units at an average density of 1,856.9/sq mi (716.6/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 88.99% White, 0.34% Black or African American, 2.19% Native American, 0.33% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 4.79% from other races, and 3.29% from two or more races. 10.14% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 10,983 households out of which 34.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.1% were married couples living together, 17.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.5% were non-families. 28.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.11.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 29.5% under the age of 18, 10.1% from 18 to 24, 28.8% from 25 to 44, 19.6% from 45 to 64, and 12.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 91.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.7 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $27,041, and the median income for a family was $32,397. Males had a median income of $31,514 versus $21,715 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $13,342. About 17.2% of families and 20.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.1% of those under age 18 and 9.6% of those age 65 or over.


  • Most of the original U-2 spy planes flown out of Groom Lake were built at a secret factory in Oildale disguised as a tire factory.
  • It is the hometown of musician Merle Haggard and writer Gerald Haslam, both of whom are often claimed by nearby Bakersfield. Haggard's famous boxcar boyhood home is still lived in today.
  • Buck Owens' recording studio, used in the 60's, 70's, & 80's to record most of his hits and also served as the home to radio stations KUZZ and KKXX, was converted from an old movie theatre on North Chester Avenue just south of Norris Road across the street from Standard School. Today it serves as a recording studio that has been used by bands such as Bakersfield-born Korn.
  • Oildale is home to the Bakersfield Speedway, a 1/3 mile banked clay oval that was built just after World War II. Merle Haggard's song, "Beer Can Hill" is about him hanging out with race fans on a hill overlooking the track.
  • In the movie, "The Grapes of Wrath," the scene when the Joad family first enters into the "Hooverville" and are appalled at what they see...this scene is based on the Hooverville that existed along the Kern River in Oildale near Beardsley Avenue.
  • Daytona 500 winner and NASCAR Busch Series champion Kevin Harvick grew up in Oildale near his dad's fire station just off North Chester Avenue and attended nearby North High School.
  • Merle Haggard and Gerald Haslam were classmates at Standard School.

Notable People from Oildale


External links



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