The Multi-Generational Family Next Door

December 8, 2011 /

Multi-generational households are on the rise across the country, especially in Hispanic communities like Coachella. (Photo: Santos J. Reyes)

By Santos J. Reyes, Coachella Unincorporated


According to Pew Research Center, 16 percent of the total U.S. population lives in households containing at least three generations — a sharp increase over 1980 when multi-generational households made up only 12 percent of households.

The numbers are even more significant in the Hispanic community, with over 22 percent of Hispanics living in multi-generational households.

The Garcia household in Coachella is one of these households.

Alyssa Garcia, who was born to a teenage mother, has lived with her maternal grandmother since the age of two after her mother was no longer able to care her and her brother.

“Growing up with my grandmother was difficult,” she says.  “I didn’t have the freedom a normal child would have had.”

By the time she was in eighth grade, Garcia was rebelling against her grandmother and soon found herself at the center of gossip and rumors in her community.

But Garcia quickly found she had bigger problems. She was a pregnant teenager, just as her own mother had been years before.

When Garcia’s mother heard the news, she was upset knowing her daughter went down the same path as she did.  Although her grandmother was also upset, she agreed to help raise her great-grandchild and provide for her as if she were her own.

Rosa Linda Garcia was born October 21, 2008, changing her mother’s and great-grandmother’s lives forever.

“Waking up in the middle of the night and morning was really hard, her getting sick and everything,” Garcia says.  “The days where I was over stressed or couldn’t get an assignment done, my grandma helped me whenever I needed her.”

Garcia says her baby’s father is not a part of her life, but that she plans to fulfill both roles with the help of her grandmother.

“My grandmother has given me the strength I need to do everything for my baby,” says Garcia.

She is now a senior at Coachella Valley High School and readily admits that raising a three-year old child is difficult. She has not given up on her dreams of going to college and becoming a medical assistant so that she can provide for her daughter.

Garcia’s grandmother played a major role in helping Alyssa raise her baby, helping her provide for her child as if she were her own.

“I would want a better life for my daughter.  I don’t want her to follow the same path of struggles that I went through. I want her to have everything.”

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