The Isle of Man is located in the Irish Sea and is politically and legally separate from the United Kingdom. The indigenous Manx population shares the island with populations of Irish, Scots, and English, along with seasonal influxes of tourists.
Location. The Isle of Man is roughly equidistant from Ireland, Scotland, England, and Wales at approximately 54° 25′ by 54°05′ N and 4°50′ by 4°20 W. The island is 21 kilometers wide at its broadest east-west point and 50 kilometers long north to south. Geographically, the Isle of Man has a Mountainous interior (the highest elevation is 610 meters) with low-lying coastal plains. The island is part of the larger geographical zone that includes the Highlands of Scotland. The climate is generally mild because of the Gulf Stream. The growing season begins in April and runs through October. The average annual precipitation is 100-127 centimeters, although considerable local variation exists. Average temperatures vary from a high of 15° C in August to 5.5° C in January, the coldest month.
Demography. The population in the Isle of Man in 1981 was 64,679. At this time, approximately 47,000 individuals (73 percent) listed themselves as Manx, making them the largest ethnic group on the island. The next largest group is the English who number some 17,000 (1986) and represent the fastest-growing population in the island. The total Population increased by 16 percent from 1971 to 1981.
Linguistic Affiliation. The Manx speak English, and in Recent years some have revived Manx Gaelic, which virtually had disappeared by 1973 with the death of the last native speaker. Manx is a branch of Goidelic Gaelic, which includes Scottish and Irish. Although there are currently no native speakers of Manx, the linguistic revival has been successful enough so that some families now use Manx in household communication. The Manx prefer using the Latin alphabet for both English and Manx. In recent years, bilingual street signs, place-names, and some publications have appeared.