‘Counting On’: What Do the Duggar Family and the Bates Family Have in Common?

Between 19 Kids and Counting and Counting On, we have learned a lot about the Duggars – well, mostly how they love large families and adhere to strict religious and moral rules. But the Duggars aren’t the only family in TLC’s lineup that shares these values. The Bates family actually has a lot in common with the Duggars, which is probably why they are the best of friends. So what do the Duggars and Bates have in common?

The Duggars Counting On
‘Counting On’ stars The Duggars | Photo by Ida Mae Astute/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

How are the Duggars and Bates the same?

Counting On fans know all about the Duggars after watching them on reality TV for years. And one thing we have learned is that they are deeply religious people. Turns out, so are the Bates.

According to Romper, the Bates, who also have a whopping 19 kids, are categorized as being evangelical Christians. In fact, their religious beliefs helped the families bond way back in the day and is one reason why they have remained so close over the years.

Back in 2012, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar opened up about how they met the Bates family and revealed that the two groups immediately hit it off.

“Back about 15 years ago, I went to a conference, and I walked in and I saw this family with about, seven or eight kids around the table. I said, ‘This kind of looks like my family.’ That was Gil and Kelly Bates,” Jim Bob Duggar explained.

The Duggar patriarch added that the two families have remained close over the years and love hanging out when they get the chance. He also characterized their relationship as being “special,” especially when it comes to watching their many children grow up.

The only hiccup in their relationship is that the Bates family lives in Tennessee while the Duggars call Arkansas their home. Despite the distance, they still find time to meet up throughout the year.

Other similarities, meanwhile, include how both families have starred in their own reality shows. While the Duggars skyrocketed to fame on 19 Kids and Counting and Counting On, the Bates family made a name for themselves in Bringing Up Bates.

How are the Duggar and Bates families different?

Although the families are similar in some, they are important differences between the two groups.

For starters, the Bates family is not nearly as strict as the Duggars, especially in regards to dating rules. As Counting On fans are well aware, the Duggars are not allowed to date in the traditional sense of the word.

Instead, they are permitted to enter into courtships, but only with the goal of marrying that person. They also have to follow strict rules while courting, which includes minimal touching and chaperoned dates.

The Bates family, on the other hand, does not pressure their children to get married as quickly as possible. While the Duggars push their kids to tie the knot, the Bates family do not believe their children should rush down the aisle.

While their dating rules may differ, the Bates and Duggars have not ruled out a future union between their families. In an interview in 2015, Erin Bates admitted that it is only a matter of time before a Duggar-Bates wedding happens.

That has not happened yet, but with plenty of kids looking to find love, there is a chance it could at some point down the road.

How do fans view the families?

Another way in which the families differ is how they are perceived by fans. Unlike the Bates family, the Duggars are constantly taking flak on social media, even when they aren’t really doing anything wrong.

A lot of the backlash is targeted at the Duggars’ strict family rules, which includes guidelines on what they can wear in public. They also get hammered on how they parent, especially now that more and more Duggars are having children of their own.

Jana Duggar, for instance, has faced a lot of criticism for how she still lives at home with her parents. Although she is nearing 30 years of age, the Counting On star still shares a room with her younger sisters.

Fans have also slammed Michelle Duggar for making older members of the family take care of their younger siblings. Jana Duggar is another good example of this, though that will likely change once she gets married and moves out.

Catch the Duggars in new episodes of Counting On Tuesday nights on TLC.