It is said that the Isle of Man is
like Britain in minature, yet with a population density of just 316
people per square mile (125 people per square kilometre), there is
certainly room to breathe and grow.
The island, which occupies a central position within both the Irish Sea and the British Isles, measures 33 miles (52 km) long and 13 miles (22 km) wide. Despite its comparatively small size, a broad range of scenery provides endless variation.
Hills stretch obliquely across the Island and just one mountain, Snaefell, stands at 2,036 feet (621 metres). Well defined valleys lie between, and around the Island's flat northern plain are long sandy beaches. These contrast markedly with the rocky cliffs and sheltered bays around the rest of the coastline, which is over 100 miles (160km) long.
Over two-thirds of the land mass is cultivated - principally the fertile northern and southern plains.
The 2011 Census recorded a resident population of 84,497 - an increase of 5.5% in 5 years. This reflected the expansion in the Manx economy and underlines the close relationship between economic and demographic growth.
In particular, the population continues to grow significantly as a result of an influx of immigrants from Eastern European countries, namely in the construction and hospitality industries.
Almost one third of residents (27,935) are settled in the capital town of Douglas; the main centre of the island and the seat of the Manx government. Other major towns' populations include Onchan (9,283), Ramsey (7,809), Peel (5,092), Port Erin (3,531), Castletown (3,093) and Port St Mary (1,957).
The Island's climate is temperate and lacking in extremes, due to the influence of the surrounding Irish Sea. In winter thunderstorms, snowfall and frost are infrequent, and even when snow does occur it rarely lies on the ground for more than a day or two.
February is normally the coldest month, with an average daily temperature of 4.9 C (41 F), and July and August are the warmest - with an average daily maximum temperature of around 18 C (63 F). In summer April, May and June are the driest months whilst May, June and July are the sunniest.
Wind generally travels southwesterly, although the rugged
topography means that local effects of shelter and exposure are
very variable. Sea fog affects the south and east coast at times,
especially in spring, but is less frequent on the west
Rainfall and the frequency of hill fog both increase with altitude - the highest point of the Island (Snaefell at 2,036 ft) receives some two and a quarter times more rainfall than Ronaldsway on the southeast coast, where the annual average is 34 inches (863 mm).