Entries in Census (3)


China's Census Shows Growing Gender Gap

George Doyle/Thinkstock(BEIJING) -- The figures are in from China's 2010 census and the results are conclusive: China's gender imbalance is getting worse.

There were 118.08 males for every 100 females last year, up from 116.9 males for every 100 females in 2000, according to the 2010 census.

At the current rate, there will be 20 million more men than woman within the next couple of decades, officials said.

"The gender ratio imbalance can be attributed to multiple causes, including a traditional preference for sons, the practice of arranging for sons to take care of elderly parents, illegal sex-selective abortions and other factors," Deputy Minister of Health Liu Qian said at a news conference this week.

It has been 30 years since China introduced its one child policy, which restricts urban couples to having just one child.  The government says that strict family planning has helped prevent roughly 400 million additional births.

While the policy has helped China rein in explosive population growth, it has brought a new set of problems with it.  China's elderly population is expanding rapidly, while the younger labor force will start shrinking within a few years.

And then there's the gender imbalance, the result of a traditional preference for boys in China.  Sex-selective abortion is a huge problem across the country but now authorities are cracking down.

Earlier this week, the government released its new "Outline for the Development of Chinese Children (2011-2020)" which says that steps should be taken to "eliminate discrimination against girls" and to promote gender equity.

"Using ultrasonic techniques to conduct non-medical sex determination" should be strictly prohibited, it says, adding that doctors who are discovered to be carrying out sex-selective abortions will have their licenses stripped.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Japan: Aging Population Getting Lonelier

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TOKYO) -- The Japanese could be in for a lonely future. New numbers from an upcoming census paint a grim picture for the aging country.

Researchers predict the upcoming census will show the number of single homes surpassed those with families for the first time. Nearly a quarter of Japanese are already over the age of 65. The country saw a record number of deaths last year, while the population decrease reached historic figures.

Experts say the issue will only get worse. They call it the "2030 problem," a spike in the number of single homes over the next 20 years. Many Japanese are opting to stay single, but others have been forced to live alone because of divorce or death. In a few decades, nearly 40 percent of people in their 50s and 60s are expected to fit that mold.

The Japanese government has come up with programs to encourage marriage; they've even handed out child allowances to ease the financial burden of raising children. But that has not necessarily led to a spike in birthrates or marriages. Last year, roughly 700,000 couples got married -- the lowest in more than half a century.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Census of Marine Life: 10-Year Project Surveys World's Oceans

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LONDON) -- How many fish are there in the sea? Scientists would not dare guess, but they estimate, in the first-ever Census of Marine Life announced Monday, that there are at least 250,000 known species in the world's oceans, from the tiniest single-celled creatures to the most massive blue whales.

It took a decade of work, with 2,700 scientists from 80 countries spending 9,000 days at sea on 540 separate expeditions. Their work was financed by foundations, universities and the governments of the researchers.

The purpose of the census was to establish a baseline -- a cross-section of marine life worldwide -- so that as things change, scientists will not have to speculate just how. Future scientists doing research on climate change, pollution, or shifts in the composition or acidity of sea water in particular parts of the world will have an idea of what lived there back in 2010.

On the way to assembling their database, the researchers came back with remarkable pictures of just a few of the 120,000 species they directly studied. Even after all the work that went into the census, the organizers say another 750,000 species may still be not be catalogued.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio