The Bateses have been around almost as long as the Duggars of 19 Kids and Counting and Counting On fame, but the Bates family seems to become more relevant with each passing year. How many very large, very religious families do you have to keep up with these days, you ask?
That's a fair question, but with the rising success of UPtv's Bringing Up Bates, there's no end in sight for this particular Fundamentalist Baptist family with a ton of kids and more grandkids popping up all of the time.
The one question on the minds of many fans (or curious internet snarkers, for that matter) is where the Bateses live. Unlike the Duggars, they aren't from Arkansas, and some of the in-laws may be from out of state, but there is a distinct Southern twang when some of the members of the Bates family speak or sing a country ballad.
So, where do the Bateses live on 'Bringing Up Bates'?
The Bates family is from Tennessee, which is technically the south, even if it isn't the deep south by most people's standards. It's a similar location to the Duggars', in that the Bateses are in a red state and in a location perfect for their particular brand of religious beliefs. And, for the most part, most of the older Bates kids still live close to home.
In 2012, the Bates family, which is made up of Gil and Kelly Jo Bates and their 19 kids, spoke to the Knoxville News Sentinel about their larger-than-life family and their roots. As it turns out, both Kelly Jo and Gil are originally from South Carolina, but they ended up settling down in Tennessee, where they started their family, which continued to grow year after year.
Gil called Tennessee "the place to be" as far as the right area in which to raise a family. And when he and Kelly Jo started having kids in the area shortly after their 1987 wedding, they didn't stop for more than 20 years. Now, most of their kids are grown up, but they're still working on raising the rest of their brood in the family home.
The Bateses are catching up to the Duggars with the number of grandchildren in the family.
The Bateses have never claimed to be in direct competition with their friends the Duggars in having kids or even grandchildren. There were jokes in the early days of 19 Kids and Counting when the Bateses would appear on the show and joke with the Duggars about which family would get to a certain number of kids first.
However, try as they might to remain their own entity, it's hard not to compare the Bateses to the Duggars since both families have so many people. In 2021, the Duggars had 20 grandchildren and were expecting two more. At the same time, the Bateses clocked in at 17 with another on the way. And just like that, these two Fundie families are still unwillingly in competition with each other.
Watch Bringing Up Bates on Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on UPtv.