You are watching: How do the duggars afford 19 kids
The Duggar family first hit television in 2005 with a few annual specials about their larger-than-life family. In 2008, the hit show 17 Kids and Counting aired on TLC; it followed the lives of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and their growing family. Now the pair have 19 children, many of whom are grown up with children of their own. The once 19 Kids and Counting series has since become Counting On — a show that follows the lives of the Duggar children and their growing families.
Even though the Duggars appear to be quite frugal and talk a lot about budgeting, it can"t be easy (or cheap) to raise 19 kids. How do the Duggars make ends meet? It might not surprise you to hear that, after 15 years of TV series and specials, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar are millionaires; they have a net worth of $5 million. Their fundamentalist religion focuses on traditional family roles, so the women typically don"t work; their husbands are expected to provide. However, many of the adult children are millionaires in their own right because of the television series and book publications.
Here is a breakdown of how the adults in the Duggar Family make money.
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar
The patriarch and matriarch of the Duggar family are both licensed real estate agents who have been buying and selling properties since the 1980s. Owning and renting out commercial property allows them to pay for their lifestyle, which cost between $3000-5000 each month when all of the kids still lived at home. From 1999-2002, Jim Bob was a Republican member of the Arkansas State House of Representatives; he served a term, so he was a paid senator.
Jim Bob also is the primary payee for Counting On, so he makes significant money from that (an estimated $25,000-$45,000 USD per episode), and pays each of his adult children a portion of that income. Their TLC fortune has served them well: Jim Bob and Michelle own 27 properties in Washington County and 10 properties in Benton County in Arkansas. They were able to build their 7,000 square foot home in Tontitown, Arkansas without debt or a mortgage, thanks to the show.
Via Wikimedia Commons
Joshua and Anna DuggarThe eldest Duggar child and his wife, Anna, have six children together. Josh is no longer affiliated with TLC, as it came to light in 2015 that he sexually abused several of his sisters when they were younger,but Anna still makes cameos here and there. It was also revealed in 2015 that Josh paid for an "affair guarantee" via the site Ashley Madison — a dating website for married people looking to cheat on their partners. His dreams of pursuing a career in D.C. quickly halted, and the couple are now allegedly living in a windowless warehouse on Jim Bob and Michelle"s property and selling used cars to make ends meet. Rumor has it that he still gets money from his parents, even though he"s no longer on the show. Josh"s net worth is reportedly $500,000.
John David and Abbie Duggar
John David (JD) and Abbie are regulars on the show, so they have an income from TLC. JD is worth an estimated $500,000-$1,000,000. Abbie was a nurse before marrying John David, but it"s not clear if she has savings from her job. John worked as a constable, and he also has his pilot"s license (and a plane his parents bought him), but it"s unclear if he works as a pilot, or if he just flies his family members around.
Jana is the oldest Duggar daughter. She still lives close to home so she can help take care of her younger siblings. Despite not working, she is worth a solid $400,000 and owns a home that she bought from her grandma, Mary, for $1.
Jill and Derick Dillard
Jill"s husband, Derick Dillard, is also an outcast. He made transphobic comments on Twitter towards another TLC cast member in 2018 — Jazz Jennings — and has since been booted from the show. Despite no longer being a part of the series, Jill Dillard is worth a hefty $1,000,000. Derick is in law school in Arkansas and works at the Sebastian County Prosecutor"s Office, according to his LinkedIn. Jill is primarily a stay-at-home-mom, but is a registered midwife who has helped deliver her sisters" babies.
Jessa and Ben Seewald
Jessa, like her sisters, doesn"t work, but it also seems like her husband, Ben, doesn"t either — at least, for now; Ben is in school to be a pastor, which comes with a modest salary. They bought their house from Jessa"s grandma, Mary, for $1; if that"s any indication of how they"ll spend Jessa"s net worth of a million dollars, they"ll be OK.
Jinger and Jeremy Vuolo
Like his brother-in-law, Ben, Jeremy is planning on being a pastor. Currently, he and Jinger are living in Los Angeles while he completes his education. Jeremy was previously a professional soccer player, but going from a professional athlete"s salary to a pastor"s is a big drop. Despite that, they"re living in a gorgeous home in LA county, and their combined net worth is reportedly $2 million.
Joseph and Kendra Duggar
Joseph works for his dad, flipping houses. He reportedly is planning on getting his real estate license, like his parents, and his CDL, which will aid in house flipping. His net worth is estimated to be $200,000. That seems low, but if it turns out anything like his siblings", he and Kendra will be just fine.
Josiah and Lauren Duggar
Josiah (aka "Si") works alongside his brother, Joseph, and their dad. He also helps Jim Bob remodel homes. His estimated net worth is $500,000.
Joy-Anna and Austin Forsyth
For being only 22, Joy-Anna is doing well for herself. The 9th Duggar child is worth $150,000. Her husband, Austin Forsyth, is following in his father-in-law"s footsteps: he flips homes in Arkansas, and apparently he makes good money doing it.
The Duggar children have all gotten a significant leg-up from their parents and late grandmother. Almost all of them live in homes that are owned by their dad, or that they bought off their grandmother for $1. They also seemingly all support themselves via either their TLC money or Jim Bob"s employment. I guess these folks are all Counting On the millions to keep rolling in.
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Rhiannon is a wordsmith, geographer, intersectional feminist, nature enthusiast, science lover, mental health advocate, and coffee connoisseur. If she had it her way, autumn would be the only season. She enjoys midnight ramblings, lists, adventures, puns, and semi-colons. Rhiannon lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two children.