The Duggar family lives an exceedingly comfortable life on their sprawling compound, though many fans wonder where all their money comes from.
The Duggar family has soared to the heights of reality TV stardom due to their shows, 19 Kids And Counting and, now, Counting On. Judging by the various homes they have across their huge Arkansas property, they are doing very well for themselves, though some fans may be surprised to learn that not all of their wealth comes from TV. As a matter of fact, the Duggars put little faith in their income from the shows, feeling that it could run out or disappear at any moment if audiences tire of them.
Because of that, the Duggars have taken on a whole host of other lucrative pursuits, all conforming to their strict religious lifestyles. The Duggars practice a form of devout Baptist Christianity, which mandates familial conformity and patriarchal hierarchy. They avoid contact with mainstream media, much of which they feel conflicts with their views.
Still, within the boundaries of modesty and Biblical fundamentalism, the Duggars have managed to turn their skills and their reality TV fame into a considerable fortune. According to a report by Celebrity Insider, parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar share a net worth of about $3.5 million, though that is spread thin considering all the children and adult offspring they care for.
No matter how you slice it, the financial side of the Duggar lifestyle is enviable. Here is a look at how the Duggars made themselves rich.
Together, the Duggar family made 229 episodes of 19 Kids and Counting, and have so far made another 53 episodes of Counting On. They were reportedly paid between $25,000 and $40,000 per episode, meaning that in the last decade they have collectively pulled in about $11 million.
Of course, the Duggars have to split that money up amongst themselves —no small task — but it is a solid base that they have been able to rely on for a long time now.
Meanwhile, the Duggars' second and most famous source of income is real estate. Both Jim Bob and Michelle are licensed real estate agents, and they have bought up massive swaths of land around their hometown, Tontitown, Arkansas.
Still, many scratch their heads at how the Duggars make a living off hoarding their property. As many fans have pointed out, Jim Bob and Michelle have given away several homes to their children, which is not a profitable model. Additionally, their rural isolation makes development difficult, if there is no one around to move into their properties. Jim Bob is reportedly locked in legal battle with the town at the moment, seeking the right to rezone a 23-acre tract of land into a luxury RV park. His neighbors are said to be angry at his penchant for owning so much land.
Between the 21 of them, the Duggar family has turned out a number of books since becoming famous. Jim Bob and Michelle co-wrote two volumes — A Love That Multiplies and 20 and Counting. Their four eldest daughters, Jana, Jessa, Jill and Jinger got together to co-write a book called Growing Up Duggar, which sold over 100,000 copies. In the world of publishing, this is a huge success.
The Duggars make occasional speaking engagements as well, likely pulling in a hefty check for just a few hours' worth of time. Over the summer, Jim Bob and Michelle spoke at a Family Conference in Sacramento, California.
Jill has, at the very least, tried to break into the world of social media product placements, though her career as an influencer may already be over. She posted an ad for the Fit Fab Fun box back in August — a product that reality stars like Khloe Kardashian have endorsed in the past. However, not long after, she deleted the post. Most assumed that the company itself asked her to end their arrangement after seeing the damage done by her husband, Derrick Dillard and his transphobic comments.
Meanwhile, Jill's husband, Derick Dillard, began law school this semester. In the present tense, this is more of a monetary drain than a source of income, though assuming he passes, one day he will be looking at a steady paycheck.
In the very early days of their marriage, Jim Bob and Michelle started out with a used car business. They transitioned from that into a towing service, though neither lasted long after they got into real estate. Still, their humble beginnings in the used car business form a foundational part of the Duggars' self-made, hustler legacy.
Finally, who could forget Jim Bob's foray into one of the least lucrative businesses of all: public service. From 1999 to 2002, the Duggar family patriarch served in the Arkansas House of Representatives. He was a member of the Republican Party, and served District 6 of the state. He was also vice chair of the House Corrections and Criminal Law Subcommittee, and participated in other committees as well.
In 2002, Duggar decided not to run for reelection in his district, gunning instead for a spot in the United States Senate itself. He lost early on, failing to secure the Republican nomination in the primary, and the spot ultimately went to Tim Hutchinson.