Entries in Life (2)


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