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They also founded such cities as New Orleans and St. French Canadians later emigrated in large numbers from Canada to the United States between the 1840s and the 1930s in search of economic opportunities in border communities and industrialized portions of New England.

It has given Québécois an ambiguous meaning The emphasis on the French language and Quebec autonomy means that French-speakers across Canada may now self-identify as québécois(e), acadien(ne), or Franco-canadien(ne), or as provincial linguistic minorities such as Franco-manitobain(e), Franco-ontarien(ne) or fransaskois(e).

Acadians residing in the provinces of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia represent a distinct francophone culture.

French Canadians outside Quebec are more likely to self-identify as "French Canadian".

Identification with provincial groupings varies from province to province, with Franco-Ontarians, for example, using their provincial label far more frequently than Franco-Columbians do.

Those reporting "French New World" ancestries overwhelmingly had ancestors that went back at least four generations in Canada.

Although deeply rooted Canadians express a deep attachment to their ethnic identity, most English-speaking Canadians of British or Canadian ancestry generally cannot trace their ancestry as far back in Canada as French-speakers.

Other terms for French Canadians who continue to reside in the province of Quebec, are Quebecers or Québécois.

The other major group of French Canadians are the Acadians (Acadiens) who reside in the Maritime Provinces.

Some identify only with the provincial groupings, explicitly rejecting "French Canadian" as an identity label.

During the mid-18th century, French Canadian explorers and colonists colonized other parts of North America in what are today Louisiana (called Louisianais), Mississippi, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, far northern New York and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan as well as around Detroit.

This group's culture and history evolved separately from the French Canadian culture of Quebec, at a time when the Maritime Provinces were not part of what was referred to as Canada, and are consequently considered a distinct culture from French Canadians.