Ever since the family first made their television debut, the world has been utterly obsessed with the Duggars. They just live in such a different world than the rest of us that it's kind of fascinating to watch them and see how their lives are.
The biggest difference, obviously, is the sheer size of their family—there are a lot of siblings in that house! That makes things like meal time or even the room arrangements a source of curiosity for many. And then, of course, there's their overall lifestyle—they have plenty of rules and regulations that the family must follow which seem a bit odd to the rest of the world.
The family's main show went off the air thanks to some drama, but some of the sisters are carrying on the tradition by starring in their own spin-off show. Even if they're no longer on television, we have a feeling that the Duggars will still remain in the public eye. They'll share their lives on social media, they'll all participate in their own projects, and that will only increase as more of the children get older.
So, if for even the casual viewer who's ever found themselves tuning in to their show or checking out their profile on social media, we've got some fascinating facts! Here are 20 things fans may not have known about the Duggar family.
20 All The 'J' Names Were An Accident
Though Michelle Duggar's own name starts with an M, every single one of her children's names starts with a J. Many people have puzzled over why they made that decision—and it turns out, it was kind of an accident. Though there have been rumors about the reason behind it, with some thinking that perhaps it was because patriarch Jim Bob's name started with a J, it was just coincidence.
When Michelle and Jim Bob began naming their children, they chose Joshua, and then John-David and Jana for their twins. When their fourth child was born, they realized it would be mean to have that child be the only one without a 'J' name—so the naming tradition carried on.
19 Each Duggar Girl Takes A Piece Of Michelle's Wedding Dress Down The Aisle
Several of the Duggar girls are old enough now that they're making the decision to get married—and becoming non-Duggars! They're walking down the aisle and taking their husbands names and starting their own little families. There is one particular tradition that connects them all on their wedding day, though, and it's pretty sweet.
It turns out, each Duggar girl takes a small piece of her mother's wedding dress down the aisle with her. Each one incorporates the piece differently—Jill had a handkerchief, while Jinger simply sewed a small piece on the inside of her gorgeous gown—but it's something they all do.
18 There's Zero Privacy
It would be hard to keep things under wraps in a house with so many people, where you're sharing a room with several of your siblings. However, even on their devices, the Duggar children have no privacy. Michelle and Jim Bob have stated before that they have no issue with reading their children's text messages, listening to their phone calls, and more.
Most fans know that they keep a close eye on their children's activities when they're courting, but who knew that they did it on a regular basis, even just when they're communicating with their friends? It seems a little excessive, and we can't help but wonder how the kids feel about it.
17 Michelle Has Been Pregnant For 144 Total Months — That's 12 Years!
It's not a surprise that Michelle Duggar has spent a large portion of her life pregnant. After all, with each pregnancy lasting roughly nine months, and 19 children overall, that adds up! However, we just never really sat down to think of how all those months added up—and were totally spooked to realize that she has been pregnant for 12 years of her entire life. That's nuts!
Many women struggle to deal with all the potential issues related to pregnancy, like nausea and fatigue, for even one or two years of their lives if they have a few children. We can't even imagine dealing with it for 12 years over the course of your life—that's a lot!
16 The Duggar Dining Table Is 18 Feet Long
It's not easy to find a table that can fit the whole family, and it seemed important to the Duggar family to be able to gather for meals. So, they came up with a custom solution and ended up finding a table that would fit their whole clan—and it's definitely not one that would fit in the average home. Many rooms aren't even 18 feet long or wide in total.
However, the Duggars have a very large, open concept home that can accommodate a dining room table of just about any size—so they opted for one that is 18 feet long. While the kids probably snack around the house, when it comes to family meals, everyone can fit at the table, which is no small feat.
15 Duggar Women Have Strict Modesty Rules — They Can't Even Show Their Shoulders
Many people who don't know much about the Duggars might find themselves a bit puzzled by the way they dress. While many of the girls have developed their style over the years, back when they were younger, they often wore unflattering and kind of dowdy skirts. That's because of a particular sartorial rule that is in place for the women in the family—they're not allowed to wear pants, ever.
Now, some of the Duggar women are bending this rule a bit once they're married, like Jinger Vuolo, who has been spotted in pants from time to time. Overall, though, they're continuing to obey the long-standing rule. I mean, we're hardly surprised, given their inspiration—Michelle Duggar even wore a turtleneck under the Say Yes to the Dress gowns she tried on for her vow renewal!
14 There's No Birth Control Permitted
Many people may be surprised to learn that Jim Bob and Michelle actually used birth control when they first got married. That only lasted a little while, though, before they made the decision to eliminate it from their lives—and they had 19 children as a result!
While we can't know what each Duggar decides to do, it seems as if their children are following their example. Their oldest, Joshua, and his wife Anna already have five children. Jessa and Jill, the first sisters married, both have two children even though they haven't been married for very long, with another on the way. We wouldn't be surprised if the 19 Duggar children ended up producing over 100 grandchildren, easily.
13 They're Not Allowed To Dance
Given how large their family is, you would think that Duggar parties would be boisterous events filled with dancing and merriment. After all, they don't drink alcohol or have any vices like that, so why not just enjoy some dancing? Well, it turns out that because of their beliefs, they don't feel dancing is appropriate.
We're not quite sure what the reasoning behind that is, but it definitely would put a damper on any kind of party. I mean, can you imagine a wedding without dancing at the reception? They may be used to it, but it would probably seem a little strange for their guests.
12 They Didn't Pay For Their Entire House — Donations Helped
The Duggar family once lived in a much smaller house, all squished together, before they eventually decided to custom build a large home for their family. Jim Bob purchased a plot of land in Arkansas and bought the frame, but the financial burden wasn't entirely on the family.
Discovery Networks, which was the company behind some of the first documentaries on the family, helped to pay for some of the furnishings. They also got local builders and suppliers in the area who were willing to donate some of their time or materials in order to bring the home to life. That definitely made it easier to afford!
11 Forget The Beach — Duggars Can't Play In The Waves
You would assume that a beach trip would be a fun, cost-effective vacation for the Duggar family. After all, you don't have to pay to lay out in the sand and splash in the waves. In comparison to something like Disneyland, where each child would cost hundreds, it's definitely a lower cost option. However, you won't catch the Duggars taking a beach vacation anywhere tropical—they try to avoid beaches whenever possible.
It's not because they dislike the ocean or the sand—it's because they don't like the average attire on the beach. Though the Duggar women wear their modest swimwear, apparently they don't want the discomfort of other women in more 'casual' suits for the men in their family.
10 The Duggar Grocery Bill Is Around $3,000 A Month
If you've ever wondered how much it costs to feed a family of 19, well, we've got your answer. The Duggars are very smart when it comes to finding economical ways to fill up their fridge and pantry. They buy things by the case, they watch for sales, and they stock up when they find a good price on something. However, even with their strategic shopping, their grocery bill is still about $3,000 per month.
We have to admit, though that's a crazy high amount, it's actually pretty impressive given the size of their family. There are many families of three or four who easily spent several hundred per month—obviously their shopping strategy is a good one!
9 None Of The Kids Have February Or June Birthdays
Given that there are 19 children in the Duggar family, you would assume there would be a Duggar birthday party every single month at least. However, it turns out, there are a few gaps. Namely, none of the Duggar children have birthdays in February or June.
You would think that even accidentally, they'd manage to get one for every month, but that's not how it worked out. Although, given how many friends each of the children have, we'd bet that they're still probably attending at least one party a month, even if they're not hosting it for their own children. We hope they like cake!
8 The Duggars Are Debt Free
Children are expensive, plain and simple. They need new clothes as they grow, they need money for activities, the list goes on and on. With 19 children to pay for, you might think that the Duggars would be struggling financially, but that's not the case. Apparently, the Duggars are debt-free and manage to find a way to finance everything their children need—although they definitely are budget-conscious, doing things like shopping at thrift stores.
Of course, their bank accounts are probably full of all the money they earned from their television show and related deals by now. Still, when the Duggars started out, they were just supremely frugal and made it work.
7 Jinger Is The Only Duggar Who Is Left Handed
Jinger Duggar Vuolo definitely seems like she marches to the beat of her own drum. Ever since she tied the knot with hubby Jeremy Vuolo, she's seemed to have a bit more independence than when she was living with her family. She's discovering who she is as a new wife and mom, and we love to follow her on social and see what she's up to.
She also has another distinction that marks her as unique amongst all the Duggar children—she's the only one who is left-handed! Frankly, we're surprised that there isn't at least one more lefty amongst the 18 other children.
6 The Family Attends A Home Church Hosted At Their House
The Duggar family's faith is obviously very important to them, so you might have wondered how on earth they make Sunday church possible. After all, that's a lot of people to fit in the pews! Well, it turns out, they don't have to worry about transporting their entire family somewhere on Sunday mornings. Instead, the church comes to them!
They run a home church hosted in their living room that all their children can attend by simply walking downstairs. We're not sure whose idea it was, but it's likely a whole lot more convenient for everyone. Although, there's definitely no excuse for skipping Sunday service when it's in your living room!
5 The Film Crew Isn't With Them 24/7
Many reality television show fans assume that there are cameras around 24/7 whenever a show is made about someone's life. After all, you never know when you'll get great footage, right? Well, it turns out, the Duggars weren't okay with that level of intrusion into their home. So, they made an arrangement where the TLC crew would be with their family, filming, for about three days a week, a few hours each day.
During one of their filming sessions, every family member would be called in for a quick interview, which provided more footage. It seems like a pretty efficient way to produce a show! That's a nice chunk of change for just a few hours per week of work (for the family—the crew obviously spends far longer piecing it all together for the episodes).
4 Any Guy Interested In Marrying A Duggar Must Ask Dad First
In most of the world, the dating process pretty much involves two people. You ask someone out, they say yes, you go on a few dates and take it from there. In the Duggar world, it's a little bit different. Boys can't just come up to one of the Duggar girls they like and ask her out. If a guy is interested, the Duggar girls must tell him to talk to their father first.
Once the guy gets through Jim Bob, he can start the structured and supervised courting process. It seems a little bit nuts, but obviously, it's not a total deterrent—several of the Duggar women found men who were willing to go through the process!
3 The Family Loves Board Game Night
When you have 19 children, many of the typical fun family activities are way too expensive. I mean, can you imagine how much it would cost for the entire family to see a movie in theatres? It would be hundreds and hundreds of dollars! That's why they find more inexpensive ways to entertain themselves, such as playing board games indoors.
According to Duggar Family Blog, the family has a few favorites, including Phase 10, Settlers of Catan, Apples to Apples, Bananagrams, Telestration, Dutch Blitz, Uno, and Skip-Bo. The family also really enjoys doing puzzles, and playing indoor games like ping pong and foosball. With 19 children, it's not just a simple game—it can transform into a full tournament!
2 Siblings Charge $5 To Chaperone Dates
With so many siblings in the house, you have to find ways to be a little entrepreneurial when you can. That's exactly what the Duggar children have done. For example, they created a system where they're able to charge $5 to chaperone each other's dates.
We have to imagine that the Duggar children would rather be chaperoned by their sibling on a date than by mom and dad, so it works out well for everyone. And, now that some of the siblings themselves have started having kids, maybe they'll be able to create a babysitting business sometime soon. It's all about seizing every opportunity!
1 Not Many Of The Duggar Children Have Received A Higher Education
It would obviously be crazy to pay for every single Duggar child to attend college—there is no way Jim Bob and Michelle could make that happen. However, many fans have puzzled over the fact that so few Duggar children manage to get any kind of higher education. Joseph went to Crown Bible College for a year, but overall, the children simply don't pursue education as adults.
They've taken a few courses through a program, CollegePlus, but most of them tend to focus on simply training for a particular role. After all, Jim Bob only has a real estate license, and was able to provide for his family—why wouldn't the kids follow in his footsteps?
Sources: Cheat Sheet, Wet Paint, Duggar Family Blog