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In the early 20th century, many of the families in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland headed by fishermen, farmers, craftsmen, miners, and other laborers lived in poverty. Some blamed the decline of the traditional industries of shipbuilding and fishing for Maritime poverty. Others suggest that federal economic policies favored urban areas and central Canada rather than the rural coastal communities. After World War II, fishermen from this area made their way south to the United States for better economic opportunities and to continue fishing.

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