This research explores the relationship between the informal and formal economy in outports in Newfoundland and how changes in this relationship will affect the future of these areas. The formal economy is based on exporting local resources while the informal economy is based on using these resources to provide daily needs. Before the 1950s and Confederation, the two economies were interconnected, supported each other, and helped to sustain the outport communities. They provided what they could for themselves by hunting, fishing, and gardening, and the rest they bought from merchants, paying in fish.
Changes took place in the 1950s, including more women working outside of the home, increased dependence on external support such as EI and welfare, and the increasing use of cash. People became more dependent on support payments and so the flexibility provided by the informal economy was lost. This represented a fundamental change and has had cultural, environmental, and economic implications, which have made many fear the ultimate resettlement of Newfoundland outports.