|While Americans of French descent make up a substantial percentage of the American population, French Americans arguably are less visible than other similarly sized ethnic groups. This is due in part to the high degree of assimilation among Huguenot (French Protestant) settlers, as well as the tendency of French American groups to identify more strongly with “New World” regional identities such as Quebecois, French Canadian, Arcadian, Cajun, or Louisiana Creole. This has inhibited the development of a wider French American identity.|
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During the mid-18th century, French explorers and Canadiens born in French Canada colonized other parts of North America in what are today Louisiana (called Louisianais), Mississippi, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan as well as around Detroit. French Canadians emigrated massively 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. French-Canadian communities remain along the Quebec border in northern Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire as well as further south in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and southern New Hampshire. The wealth of Catholic churches named after St. Louis throughout New England is indicative of the French immigration to the area. They came to identify as Franco-American, especially those who were born American.