While the two families have nearly the same number of children (18), you shouldn't dare confuse the Bates family with the Duggars. Sure, they're lifelong friends, and have even appeared on the Duggars' reality show 19 Kids And Counting, but the Bates family lives a much more modest and simple life — far, far away from reality TV cameras.
The Bates live an old-fashioned lifestyle, without much use of technology/the internet. All 18 of the children live at home, including the four who are currently in college. But that won't be the case for long if and when a "suitor comes calling" for their 21-year-old eldest daughter, and she embarks in a process they like to call "courtship."
We're not talking about a "regular" relationship filled with dinner dates and making out at the movies: the courtship process for these families consists of a man asking a lady he's interested in if they'd like to "court" — as the whole family looks on. They'll then get to know each other on a series of outings and dates where they cannot touch, as they wait for any kind of physical expression of love until marriage.