The world’s population is soaring and some families are helping bump up those statistics much more than others. The global population is expected to hit the 11 billion mark by 2100 but it’s currently at only seven billion. That’s a lot of baby making in the next 86 years – which the world’s biggest families are probably more than happy about.
Although it may be the norm around the world, not all families consist of mom, dad and one to three children. You need only look at some celebrity families constantly in the spotlight to see examples of big families. Victoria and David Beckham have four children, Kris Jenner has six children (as seen in Keeping Up With the Kardashians), Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have six kids and Eddie Murphy has eight kids. Other big families have become celebrities purely thanks to their size, featuring in their own reality TV series such as 19 Kids & Counting and United Bates of America.
Check out our list of the 10 biggest families in the world and get an insight into what life is like when you’re part of a family that keeps on growing. It’s worth mentioning that these 10 families would struggle to compete with some of the excessively large families of the past. There was Ismail Ibn Sharif of Morocco who was said to have fathered 867 kids all up – 525 sons and 342 daughters. (He had many wives and concubines.) There was also Mr. and Mrs. Feodor Vassilyev who had 69 children between them in the years between 1725 and 1765.
This list of 10 huge families will take you from Asia to America to Australia and back again!
10. Hann Family – 13 Kids
Mormons Emma and Roy Hann have 12 kids in tow in Dundee, Scotland. There’s also one more baby in the Hann family. Emma Hann gave a baby up for adoption after giving birth at just 17 years of age. The pregnancy was hidden and she says she was pressured into giving the baby away. Roy Hann works nights at Ninewells Hospital to provide for the family. Combined with family allowance payments, they make ends meet. They live in a six-bedroom ex-council house which has been extended to accommodate the whole family. The Hann family became friends with the Radford family (also in our top 10 list) and the two families planned a camping trip together.
9. Bonell Family – 15 Kids
The Bonell family is likely to be the biggest family down under. Living in Queensland, Australia, Jeni and Ray Bonell are caring for 15 children (and there is another on the way). Jeni Bonell was quoted earlier this year as saying that when the pair got married she didn’t want any children, but that all changed after having their first baby. She says she loves “the chaos, the noise, the hugs” and surrendering to parenthood. The family splits up chores and works as a team to get everything done. The kids help around the home from as young as eight years old. Jeni Bonell drives the kids to school in a 16-seater Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (which used to be a school bus).
8. Radford Family – 16 Kids & 1 Grandkid
Sue and Noel Radford head the biggest family in the United Kingdom and they all live under one roof. The couple and their 16 children own a bakery and live all together in a former children’s home. They use a minibus to get around as a family. Life can be busy when you’re the mother of so many kids; Sue Radford says her days start before 7am and finish at 10pm. She first fell pregnant at age 14 but decided to follow through with the pregnancy and the couple ended up getting married four years later, and then had a whole lot more kids. Sue Radford was expecting another child, due in April 2014, but sadly miscarried in September 2013.
7. Ionce Family – 18+ Kids
Living in Abbotsford (in British Colombia, Canada), Alexandru Ionce and wife Livia had their 18th children in 2008, making them into a 20-person family. The couple, originally from Romania, had been living in Canada since 1990. The father of the family works in construction and said that the family had received media calls from as far away as Europe and England. As reported by CTV News, they never planned on how many children they would have. They decided to let God guide them because they believe life comes from God and should not be stopped. All 18 kids were happy and healthy at the time of reporting and the pair didn’t think they would be the world’s largest family (despite having been approached to star in a TV documentary on that topic).
6. Bates Family – 19 Kids
Living in Tennessee, Gil and Kelly Bates have 19 children. The evangelical Christian family is made up entirely of children from single births – there are no twins or triplets in the clan. They live in a 4,000-square-foot house, with five bedrooms, eight bathrooms, two kitchens and five washing machines. They are all home schooled. Gil Bates runs a tree-cutting company and says they never made a conscious decision on how many children they would have. They instead decided to “trust in God” and see what happened. You can get a glimpse into the busy, chaotic life of the Bates family via their TLC TV show, United Bates of America. Not surprisingly, they are BFFs with the Duggar family (also on our top 10 list) and they have starred in some episodes of 19 Kids & Counting.
5. Duggar Family – 19 Kids & 3 Grandkids
Stars of the TLC reality TV show 19 Kids & Counting, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar head a family of 19 children in Arkansas, USA. With 10 boys and nine girls, they’ve had their work cut out for them since the first (Josh) was born in 1988. They practiced birth control for the first four years of their marriage but after their first child was born, they decided to have as many children as God decided to give them. Their eldest, Josh, is married with three children currently. The family lives debt free in a huge house and Jim Bob Duggar credits a financial freedom seminar he went to when he was young as putting him on the right track. He also says the family has lived “very frugally”. The family are strict Christians and the eldest son Josh saved his first kiss for his wedding day.
4. Nikolenko Family – 25 Kids
In Russia, the biggest families are actually rewarded with a special award ceremony in the Kremlin (complete with prize money) thanks to government officials such as Vladimir Putin pictured above. It’s thought to be part of the government’s drive to encourage families to have more kids and aid a shrinking Russian population. One such family, who received an award in 2010, was the Nikolenko family. Lyudmila and Nikolai Nikolenko had six children of their own but were not content so proceeded to adopt another 19 children, taking their total to 25. They all live together under one roof in southern Russia.
3. Luiz Costa de Oliveira Family – 50+ Kids & 100+ Grandkids
This Brazilian man in his early 90s has fathered at least 50 children to several different women. He made his living as a farm worker. His first wife gave him 17 children and his second wife gave him 17 children. His long-time mistress during his second marriage also gave him 15 children and a fling with an older woman also resulted in a child. Living in Campo Grande (in the northern state of Rio Grande de Norte), Oliveira told the local newspaper that “the best thing God made in the world was women”. He even admitted he didn’t know the names of all his kids, and that there could be even more than he doesn’t know about.
2. Daad Mohammed Al Balushi – 93+ Kids & 50+ Grandkids
Based in the United Arab Emirates, Daad Mohammed Al Balush has established himself as some kind of “super dad”. He’s had at least 17 wives so far, usually having four at a time (as that’s the maximum legally allowed in his jurisdiction). Now in his mid-60s, Al Balushi says that if he was allowed, he would have 20 wives at a time, as long as they hadn’t been previously married. Each of his wives lives separately in luxury and they all meet up weekly at his old home. He says that he will definitely reach the 100 children mark in the near future and his unique outlook on family life has made him somewhat of a media sensation around the world and in Pakistan. The Khaleej Times called him “Daddy Cool”.
1. Ziona Family – 39 Wives, 94 Kids & 33 Grandkids
Ziona, who is in his late 60s, is the Indian man at the head of what’s thought to be the world’s biggest family. He has 39 wives, 94 children and 33 grandkids (at the last count). They all live together in a 100-room “mansion” in Baktwang village, which is in the state of Mizoram, India. His wives sleep in dormitory style rooms, each taking turns to sleep in bed with him. He is also head of a Christian sect, which was formed in the 1940s and allows men to have as many wives as they wish. He told UK newspaper The Sun that he is “blessed” to have such a large family. The family can consume about 30 whole chickens for just one evening meal.
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