French Canadian Americans are Americans of French-Canadian descent. About 8 million U.S. residents are of this descent, and about 2 million Americans speak French at home. Americans of French-Canadian descent are most heavily concentrated in New England and the Midwest. Their ancestors mostly arrived in the United States from Quebec between 1840 and 1930, though some families became established as early as the 17th and 18th centuries.
The term Canadien (French for "Canadian") may be used either in reference to nationality or ethnicity in regard to this population group. French Canadian Americans, because of their proximity to Canada and Quebec, kept their language, culture, and religion alive much longer than any other ethnic group in the United States apart from Mexican Americans. Many "Little Canada" neighborhoods developed in New England cities, but gradually disappeared as their residents eventually assimilated into the American mainstream. A revival of the Canadian identity has taken place in the Midwestern states, where some families of French descent have lived for many generations. These states had been considered part of Canada up until 1783. A return to their roots seems to be taking place, with a greater interest in all things that are Canadian or Québécois.
^Ralph D. VICERO, Immigration of French Canadians to New England, 1840-1900, Ph.D thesis, University of Wisconsin, 1968, p. 275; as given in Yves ROBY, Les Franco-Américains de la Nouvelle Angleterre, 1776-1930, Sillery, Septentrion, 1990, p. 47
^Leon TRUESDELL, The Canadian Born in the United States, New Haven, 1943, p. 77; as given in Yves ROBY, Les Franco-Américains de la Nouvelle-Angleterre, Sillery, Septentrion, 1990, p. 282.