American Canadians are Canadian citizens of American descent, or Canadians who identify to some extent with American society. The term is most often used to refer to Canadians who either migrated from or have ancestry in the United States.
According to the Canada 2006 Census, 316,350 Canadians reported American as being their ethnicity, at least partially. There are also between 900,000 and 2 million Americans living in Canada, either as full-time or part-time residents.
There has not been a reliable estimate of the total number of Americans from the United States who have settled in Canada since the founding of the two countries as the United States in 1776 and Canada in 1867. Prior to the independence of the United States and the formation of Canada, the settled areas were British colonies.
Americans have moved to Canada throughout history. During the American Revolution, many Americans, 15-25% of the population (300-500,000), loyal to the British crown left the United States and settled in Canada. By 1783, 46,000 had settled in Ontario (10,000) and the Maritimes (36,000). These early settlers were officially designated United Empire Loyalists and referred to as the King's Loyal Americans. Many Black Canadians are descendants of African American slaves (Black Loyalists) who fled to Canada during the American Revolution. Similar waves of American immigrants, 30,000, lured by promises of land if they swore a loyalty oath to the King, settled in Ontario before the War of 1812. The Black Refugees in the War of 1812 also fled to Canada and many American slaves also came via the Underground Railroad, most settling in either Halifax, Nova Scotia or Southern Ontario. At the outbreak of the war of 1812 80,000 of 110,000 inhabitants in Ontario were American born or descendants of Americans. In the Maritimes 110,000 of 135,000 were Americans who settled before 1775 or after and their descendants. This fact gave English-speaking Canada a pronounced American cultural flavor into the 1830s. The difference was political: those who disliked the split with Britain and those who supported it.
In the early 20th century, over 750,000 American settlers moved into the farming regions of the Prairie Provinces of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Many of these were immigrants (or children of immigrants) from Europe or Eastern Canada who had gone to the United States looking for farm land only to find the supply of free farmsteads there exhausted. Others were old-stock white Americans, and a small percentage were racial minorities, such as African Americans. In 1916, Americans accounted for 36% of all the foreign-born residents of Alberta, 30% in Saskatchewan, and 8% in Manitoba.
In the 1930s, before World War II, and again in the 1970s, waves of Americans, many from Texas and Oklahoma, migrated to Canada to work in the country's growing oil industry. During the Vietnam War era, many American draft dodgers fled to Canada to avoid the war. About 10,200 Americans moved to Canada in 2006; this was the highest number since 1977.