Meet the Duggar Family with 17 (18,19) Children

  The Duggar Family

Updated 9/1/2009: Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar announced they are expecting their 19th child in March. 42-year-old Michelle Dugger was surprised to find she is pregnant only eight months after the birth of her 18th child. The Duggars have a show on The Learning Channel (TLC) called “18 Kids and Counting”. Their first grandchild is due in October.

Updated 12/18/2008: Jordyn-Grace Makiya Duggar was born today weighing 7 pounds, 3 ounces and was 20 inches long. Click here for a picture of the whole family.

Updated 5/10/2008: Happy Mother’s Day: Woman pregnant with 18th child: “Michelle Duggar, 41, is due on New Year’s Day, and the latest addition will join seven sisters and 10 brothers. There are two sets of twins.”

I recently came across the Duggar Family website. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have seventeen children, all of whose first names begin with the letter J. They are a Christian family who homeschool their children with additional emphases on Christian character formation and music. Michelle describes a typical day in their home. Here are some excerpts:

Our #1 goal is to lead our children to seek a close relationship with God & give Him every area of their lives. We purpose to start each day with a family Bible study, reading a chapter of Proverbs that corresponds with the day of the month … We desire for each child to develop a learning spirit & a servant’s heart that looks for opportunities to serve others …

We eat breakfast & read Proverbs at 8:00a.m., then we “quick clean” the house … At 9:00a.m., the older children help their buddies with their studies in phonics, math, violin & piano (J-O-Y- Jesus first, Others second, & Yourself last!). Then the older children start their music & individual studies … We also review & memorize scripture, hymns & operational definitions of character qualities …

We have dinner at 5:00 p.m. … We do another “quick clean” of the house after dinner & then have free time … 9:00 p.m. is Bible time with Daddy. This is probably our favorite time of day. Daddy reads the Bible & we discuss the passage together. We talk about the day & bring out points of how to apply what we have learned … Bedtime is 10:00 p.m.

We have a master schedule of each family member’s responsibilities displayed on our dining room wall … For each month, we also have individual daily checklists which cover schoolwork, chores, music lessons, & personal hygiene. These were designed by Daddy so we could see at a glance how each child is doing. These checklists enable us to keep our children accountable & also reward them accordingly.

The Duggar Family And finally, here are some amazing pictures of the family and their home. (The site says “18 people living in one house,” but I think they missed baby Jennifer who was born on August 2, 2007.) I especially like the walk-in closet, the climbing-wall on the side of the bunk bed, and the whole family holding hands for prayer around the (very long) dining room table.


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  1. Margaret says:

    The Duggar family are amazing. They were featured on the “Today” show on Friday. All the family were in the studio, answering questions. Quite a family and quite a testimony.

    And to think, I thought I was busy raising 4 children, who went off to school each day! The thought of home-schooling 17 children leaves me full of admiration for this remarkable Christian family.

  2. Ray Fowler says:

    I taped the “Today” show segment but haven’t had time to watch it yet. But I was impressed by what I read about the family at their website.

  3. Brenda Burkham says:

    Hello. I enjoyed your story on the Duggar family and would like to know more about them, do you happen to have their website info? I was also told by friends they have wonderful recipes posted but we cannot seem to locate the site. Thanks so much and keep up the great work on your site. I read it often. Best wishes for the joyous holiday season ahead. Brenda

  4. Ray Fowler says:

    Brenda – I am glad you enjoyed this post. I was really fascinated by this family and how they make such a large family work. Here is the link to their website:

    And here is the link to their recipe page:

    God bless, and have a Merry Christmas!

  5. danyelle says:

    i am from arkansas and i just wanted to say you are one heck of a lady!!!!!!!! But arnt u afraid your body has had a toll taken on with all the pregnancies?

  6. Ray Fowler says:

    danyelle – God bless all our mothers who went through childbirth for us! Thanks for visiting and commenting.

  7. Triston says:

    I find it odd that their kids are so well behaved….as a mother, who has been around some amazing families, there were always tiffs, arguments, debates, snarkiness, fights over toys, complaining about food, temper tantrums…what this family has none of that with 17 kids…

    and they “make it work” because the older kids sacrifice their time and education taking care of their siblings….

  8. Ray Fowler says:

    Triston – Yep, pretty amazing. I am sure they have their “moments” but overall they seem like a remarkably well-disciplined, cooperative family.

  9. Suz says:

    The website doesn’t work anymore

  10. Ray Fowler says:

    Suz– Yes, it seems the site was down for a couple of days, but it’s back up again now.

  11. Rebecca says:

    Hi, my name is Rebecca. I just watched 17 and counting for the first time because I RARELY watch TV. I am an EMT student and just beginning as a photographer with the encouragement of my sister. I am 26 years old and I live in Mandeville, la. I recently just visited Russellville AK to take pictures for a soccer tournament. I thought it wa beautiful and really enjoyed the friendliness of the people. I was very very blessed to watch their show and just pray so many blessings on their family. as a former preschool teaacher and nanny and camp councelor for the majority of my life, I really was touched by the absolute beauty and precious joy that I saw in the family. I have a relationship with my creator, Jesus Christ…and I pray that I am able to have that many children one day¡I love children and its such a joy to watch them grow. my cousin has 8, and I just overflow with amazemrnt when I have the honor to watch how God is working in their family. I’m glad for the chance to watch the show they were on and only pray many blessings on them.


  12. Ray Fowler says:

    Rebecca – Thanks for visiting and commenting. I didn’t even know the Duggar family had their own reality show until I read your comment. Here’s a link about it for anyone that is interested (I just looked it up):

    17 Kids and Counting


    So you guys think nothing of LYING about the RESPONSES you are getting to this DUGGAR glory-story?? Obviously, NOT EVERYONE is blissful over the idea of having 18 kids (and no doubt there will still be more!), but you sanctimonious (dishonest) people actually REMOVE comments that express disapproval for this excessive behavior…

    How UN-Christian of you!

  14. Ray Fowler says:


    From time to time I do remove comments from this site, not because I disagree with their content, but if they are disrespectful to other people. (Here is my comment policy found on my personal profile page: “Please feel free to interact using the comments section. You do not have to be a Christian or agree with a post in order to comment. I just ask that everyone respect each other in the comments and tell us what you think!”)

    I always email the commenter to tell them I have removed their comment and why, and then I invite them to re-post their views but in a more respectful tone. You will find many instances of respectful disagreement all over the comments section in this blog.

    The reason I removed your first comment was because of disrespect. You called Mrs. Duggar a “broad” and other people “idiots.” That is not respectful discourse. I tried to email you, but alas, you are surfing the web under a proxy leaving anonymous comments under false names with fake email addresses. You can understand why it was a little hard to contact you.  🙂

    I would have left a comment here for you, but in my experience, the people who leave comments like yours are usually drive-bys and never actually return to the site. So good for you, you came back and now I can address your concern. You are welcome to re-post your view that it is wrong for the Duggars to have such a large family, as long as you do so in a respectful way. In fact, I hope you will so that others can dialog and interact with you, and we can all learn from each other.

    Thanks for visiting, and please know that you are welcome here, just not any disrespectful comments.

  15. Duggars HUGE Family Not Appreciated by All says:

    The Duggars are being glorified because they are deliberately having a HUGE number of children (with no end in sight). Not everyone thinks this is to be lauded.

    Those who have grown up in HUGE families are more often than not traumatized for life by growing up in a zoo-like atmosphere; many of them end up having NO CHILDREN at all–evidence of the traumas they carry, from growing up a NUMBER instead of a NAME, in a BUREAUCRACY instead of a FAMILY.

    The earth is already overpopulated and its resources are dwindling; and it is the height of hubris for any family, Duggars included, to overpopulate like this, regardless of what may be motivating this excessive activity.

    –There, is THAT “respectful” enough for you???

  16. Ray Fowler says:

    That’ll work. Thanks for coming back and commenting. Anyone want to respond? Remember, same rules apply for everyone! 🙂

  17. Margaret says:

    I agree that 18 is a very large family, and I was content to have 4. But it is their personal choice, and I admire them for their efficiency in coping in a very organized way, and their obvious love for each child, and their faith in God.

    I respectfully disagree about the future for these children. I have friends who were part of large families growing up (such as 17, and 12). They are well-adjusted, caring, helpful and kind, bringing up families of their own with love and happiness, and Christian faith.

    Thanks, Ray, for this blog, and for the chance for people to write out their opinions, even in disagreement, but with respect.

  18. Respectfully Disagree says:

    Having both witnessed other large families that were a disaster and having grown up in one, would like to respectfully disagree with all those who gush about how “wonderful” large families are. Invariably, the younger ones PAY for the excesses of their parents and suffer all their lives because they grow up a NUMBER instead of a NAME in a BUREAUCRACY rather than a FAMILY.

    A family should focus on QUALITY not QUANTITY.

  19. Sheila says:

    They seem to be quite well organized, and all of the kids are apparently pretty responsible individuals, which is a credit to their parents, but let’s talk health insurance! Even if this family is debt-free, how in the world do they cover the premiums? Jim Bob doesn’t appear to work for any major corporation, so I would assume they have to purchase individual policies. Eighteen kids and all of those deliveries. Sheesh! Can you imagine the monthly premiums! Their insurance payments, alone, would support a small family!

  20. Ray Fowler says:

    Sheila – I don’t know how they do it either. But they seem to be managing somehow!

  21. maya says:

    someone sent me an e-mail about them and I was absolutely amazed at this family. Its great how the kids are so happy, and also you can tell they are so serene. Being a Muslim I congradulate people who choose the path of religiosity, it just shows on your life in a positive way.
    although I must say having five kids myself, its just beyond my imagination how she can manage with all those kids!! Anyway good for her!!

  22. Cindy Lawrence says:

    I wish the baby a speedy recovery! What is their health insurance?

  23. Usman says:

    What decent people, I read that they allow very limited physical contact during dating, and I see the girls dress modestly, they don’t watch tv, and have limited access to the Internet, they follow more Islamic precepts and are better Muslims than almost Muslims Americans I know (myself included). It is true what the Christian King of Ethiopia said about Christianity & Islam, he said “Christianity & Islam are like 2 rays of light from the same source” May God guide them

  24. Ray Fowler says:

    Usman – I agree, they are very decent people. As far as Christianity and Islam, although both hold to a high moral code, their core teachings about Jesus and salvation are very different. Christianity teaches that our good works do not save us; only Jesus saves us. Once we come to God through faith in Jesus his Son, then the Holy Spirit comes into our lives to help us live righteously.

  25. Usman says:

    Well the main point we Muslims and Christians disgree about is the Trinity, otherwise we are similar about 95% I think it is more important that we people of faith stick together aginst the corrupting influence of pornography, infidelity, drugs, abusive language, that the secular forces are pushing on us, I think we people of faith waste all our energy fighting each other (e.g. Burning Qurans when we sshould be burning pornography, bashing Christmas trees when we should be bashing ‘Sex ed’ etc.)

    Here are just a few tidbits from the Quran which you might not know…

    Those who believe in the Qur’an, those who follow the Jewish scriptures, and the Sabians, and the Christians, and who believe in God and the Last Day, and work righteousness, – on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. Qur’an 5 : 69

    God had granted His Favour upon Jesus, and, he was made an example to the Children of Israel. Qur’an 43 : 59.

    Before his birth, the angels had foretold Mary that her son, whose name will be Messiah Jesus, shall be held in high honour in this world, and, in the Hereafter, he will be among the nearest to God. Quran. 3 : 45.

    In the Qur’an the name of Virgin Mary appears 34 times; the name of her righteous son – Jesus, 25 times; the name Muhammad only 3 times.

    May God Guide you…

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