French Canadians (also referred to as Canadiens; French: Canadiens français, pronounced [kanadjɛ̃ fʁɑ̃sɛ]; feminine form: Canadiennes françaises, pronounced [kanadjɛn fʁɑ̃sɛz]), are an ethnic group who trace their ancestry to French colonists who settled in Canada beginning in the 17th century.
|4,680,820 in Canada|
c. 10 million (French-speaking Canadians)
2,100,842 in the United States
|Regions with significant populations|
|Canada: majority in Quebec, large minority in New Brunswick, small minorities in Northern Ontario, Eastern Ontario, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Manitoba. |
United States: small French Canadian American minorities in New England, New York, Michigan and Louisiana.
|Canadian French, sometimes Canadian English or American English as well|
|Predominantly Roman Catholic, minority Protestant (Huguenot)|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Quebecois, French, Bretons, Acadians, Cajuns, Métis, Métis in the United States, French Americans, French Canadian Americans, French Haitians, Brayons, Old Stock Canadians|
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French Canadians (including those who are no longer French-speaking) constitute the second largest ethnic group in Canada, behind those of English ancestry and ahead of those of Scottish and Irish ancestry. In total, those whose speak French in Canada is a number up to 7.2 million people or comprising 22.8 % of the Canadian population.
French Canadians make up the majority of the native speakers of French in Canada, who in turn account for about 22 percent of the country's total population. The majority of French Canadians reside in Quebec, where they constitute the majority of the province's population and are referred to as Quebecers or Québécois. However, French Canadian minorities exist in many places in Canada and the United States. Other distinct French-speaking ethnic groups include the Acadians of the Maritime Provinces, the Brayons of New Brunswick and the Métis of the Prairie Provinces, among other smaller groups. These groups may be included among the French Canadian group in linguistic contexts, but are considered separate ethnic and cultural groups from French Canadians due to their distinct histories.
During the 17th century, French settlers originating from Normandy, Perche, Beauce, Brittany, Maine, Anjou, Touraine, Poitou, Aunis, Angoumois, Saintonge and Gascony came to Canada. It is from them that the French Canadian ethnicity was born. Then, during the 17th to 18th centuries, French Canadians expanded across North America and colonized various regions, cities, and towns. As a result, today, people of French Canadian descent can be found across North America. Between 1840 and 1930, roughly 900,000 French Canadians immigrated to the United States, mostly to the New England region, an event known as the Grande Hémorragie.