French diaspora

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French diaspora
Diaspora française
French people around the world.svg
Total population
c. 30 million worldwide[1]
Regions with significant populations
 Canada9.6 million[2] 27.4%
 United States9.4 million[3] 2.9%
 Argentinac. 6 million[4] 17%
 United Kingdomc. 3 million[5] 4.6%
 Brazilc. 1 million[6] 0.5%
 Chilec. 500,000[7] – 800,000[8] 2.8 % – 4.5%
 South Africac. 700,000[9][10] 1.3%
 Uruguayc. 300,000[11] 8.7%
 Australia135,000[12] 0.6%

French expatriates
 United Kingdomc. 300,000[13]
 United Statesc. 300,000[14]
 Belgiumc. 250,000[15]
  Switzerlandc. 190,000[17]
 Germanyc. 160,000[18]
 Canadac. 150,000[19]
English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Afrikaans
Roman Catholic, Protestant
Related ethnic groups
European diaspora

The French diaspora comprises French people and their descendants living outside France. Countries with significant numbers of people with French ancestry include Canada and the United States, whose territories were partly colonized by France between the 17th and 19th centuries, as well as Argentina and Uruguay. Although less important than in other European countries, immigration from France to the New World was numerous from the start of the 19th century to the middle of the 20th century. As of 2013, French authorities estimate that between 2[20] and 3.5 million[21] French nationals are living abroad but the diaspora includes over 30 million people.[22]


Several events have led to emigration from France. The Huguenots started leaving in the 16th century, a trend that dramatically increased following the 1685 revocation of the Edict of Nantes. French colonization, especially in the Americas, was prominent in the late 17th and 18th centuries. At the end of the 18th century, French emigration (1789–1815) was a massive movement of émigrés mostly to neighboring European countries, as a result of the violence caused by the French Revolution. Later emigration was often associated with economic conditions. From 1847 to 1857, almost 200,000 French people emigrated abroad.[23] From 1821 to 1920, around 121,000 Basques and Bearnese people from Basses-Pyrénées emigrated to America—more than 108,000 from 1835 to 1901.[24]

Between 1848 and 1939, 1 million people with French passports emigrated to other countries.[25] In the Western Hemisphere, the main communities of French ancestry are found in the United States, Canada and Argentina. Sizeable groups are also found in Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Uruguay and Australia.