When the Duggar family entered the TLC sphere, families so large were unheard of. In the family’s initial specials, they had even fewer children. Today, Jim Bob and Michelle have had 19 children. For most families, this would be a struggle. Many people forget that taking care of their kids was difficult for the Duggar family before TLC came along.
In fact, viewers of Counting On are beginning to see that the younger Duggar siblings are living much better lives than their older siblings did. TLC has certainly changed things around.
Unlike many families, the Duggars have had more than a dozen mouths to feed over the years. With neither parent working a traditional job and neither parent believing in birth control, it was not long before the family outgrew its resources–something TLC rarely discusses.
In one of the earliest TLC specials, the large family can be seen living in a very small home with one bathroom. With about five children per bedroom at the time, life could not have been comfortable.
So, how has the Duggar family managed to make ends meet over the years? What does success look like for the Duggars, and what did the older kids have to work through that the younger kids do not?
One way people are criticizing the Duggar family is in regards to the family’s food choices. Jim Bob and co. once relied on real estate to make ends meet, but fans wonder exactly how much money Jim Bob could have made on a single salary. Looking at the family’s old recipes, it becomes clear that the family has sacrificed fresh foods. Many of the food items the family boasts about look neither nutritious nor tasty. Many of the meals are ones that the children could put together themselves, which seems like something that happened frequently.
Questions about money still come up when fans and snarkers discuss the Duggar family. Many wonder exactly how Michelle and Jim Bob support their families, but now people are beginning to wonder how the older Duggar children are supporting their families. Many of the Duggars live on the family’s property. Notably, the daughters who married men who attended college live away from the family compound.
Derick Dillard, Jill’s husband, has insinuated that Jim Bob receives all the money made from TLC’s Counting On and then disperses an allowance to the children.
On older episodes of 19 Kids and Counting, Jim Bob can be heard saying, “Buy used and save the difference.” Michelle Duggar once said that children who marry will “leave and cleave.” Viewers of the show wonder if the older children are equipped for independent living. After all, few of the older boys seem to be making a name for themselves outside of the show, and the women and girls are tasked with raising the younger children.
Essentially, it seems that the younger Duggar siblings have more access to money and food thanks to TLC. Additionally, the younger Duggar girls are not raising a new generation of children. Many Duggar viewers say that unlike their older siblings, the younger girls seemingly have a childhood.