Could Jim Bob Duggar Really Support His Oversized Family?

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The Duggar family’s reign of TLC is officially over. The network announced the cancellation of Count on on June 29th, where weeks of speculation about the fate of the show will end. Two reality TV shows and more than a decade later, the family’s supporters largely agree that the Duggar family is wealthy. Jim Bob Duggar and Michelle Duggar have a huge real estate portfolio, own multiple aircraft, and own multiple companies. It was not always like that. Critics of the Duggar family have long suspected that Jim Bob could hardly look after his ever-growing clan without much help from those around him. How did the Duggar family survive financially before TLC knocked?

Jim Bob Duggar and Michelle Duggar sold cars and real estate prior to 19 Kids and Counting

Jim Bob and Michelle got married young. The couple were just 17 and 19 years old when they tied the knot. They did not have children right away, unlike most of their children. Their first child, Joshua Duggar, was born in 1988, four years after they said “I Do”. As a young family, Jim Bob and Michelle worked in a variety of professions.

CONNECTED: ‘Counting On’: The Duggars used to spend $ 4,000 a month on groceries

In the family book, The Duggars: 20 and Counting!, Michelle revealed that Jim Bob bought and sold old cars for several years to make a living. Jim Bob and Michelle owned and operated a small car park as a young couple, but they weren’t exactly out with cash. Michelle explained that they lived in a tiny house in the parking lot. They had five children and two adults who lived in 900 square meters.

Michelle Duggar and Jim Bob Duggar | Peter Kramer / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images

They eventually started buying and selling real estate and even owned a grocery store. When TLC caught up with the family, they owned several homes and commercial properties in northwest Arkansas. Jim Bob also had a brief career in politics. But were they financially secure? Not exactly. Several of the Duggar children have traits that family critics believe grew up with food insecurity. Most older duggars also spent most of their childhood in homes that were too small to meet their needs.

Critics of the Duggar family argue that the Duggars only got their finances up and running with the help of locals

While Jim Bob and Michelle were real estate agents before their reality TV careers began, family critics argue that they weren’t making enough money to support their growing family, especially without credit. Rather than maxing out credit cards, the family reportedly gladly accepted help from family, locals, and church members.

CONNECTED: A 2007 blog comment could give credence to Derick Dillard’s claims about the Duggar family

Before the Duggar family moved into their spacious estate, 14 children and two adults lived in a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house on Johnson Road in Springdale, Arkansas. Jim Bob and Michelle bought the house from Michelle’s father in 1992, according to a Reddit user who was rummaging through real estate records. In 2001 they sold the property to a church, but lived in the house for another four years, presumably rent-free, before moving to the house they built as a family.

A single comment called “Alice” went on a now-defunct blog in 2007 to claim the Duggars had repeatedly called out brands and companies for free products and worked tirelessly to get the family on TV. Allegedly, they hoped a TV paycheck would ease the financial burden. Mary Duggar, Jim Bob’s mother, led the charges, according to Alice, whose identity was never released. “Alice” exposed Josh’s harassment scandal years before it became popular. Critics of the Duggar family believe that “Alice” was a church elder.

Can the Duggar Family support their ever-growing tribe without TLC?

Jim Bob and Michelle don’t have any more children, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still responsible for the well-being of more than a dozen of their offspring. Jim Bob and Michelle have five children under the age of 18 in the house and are currently looking after a relative’s child. Several of the Duggar boys, including Joseph Duggar, Josiah Duggar, Jedidiah Duggar, Jeremiah Duggar, and John David Duggar, are employed by Jim Bob. Family supporters strongly suspect that Jim Bob also helps keep Jessa Seewald’s family afloat.

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar show their youngest children through a store store on a visit to New York City

Jim Bob and Michelle Dugger with several of their children | D Dipasupil / Getty Images for Extra

CONNECTED: Counting On: Is Jim Bob Duggar Preventing His Sons From Getting Real Jobs?

So can the family survive without an income from TLC? At this point, most likely. With a large real estate company and potential speaking engagements, Jim Bob and Michell are unlikely to be vying for money any time soon. As for the Duggar children, family critics think some need to rethink their lifestyles.



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