Eastern Europe is shrinking before our eyes

The global population is expected to balloon to nearly 10 billion people by 2050, with Africa’s population doubling in that time and five of the world’s six inhabited continents growing significantly. That growth will pass Eastern Europe by. In fact, the region is rapidly shrinking.

Data: United Nations World Population Prospects; Map: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

The big picture: According to the United Nations, the 10 fastest shrinking countries on earth are in Eastern Europe. Japan, perhaps the country with the most oft-analyzed demographic challenges, is 11th. Many of those countries are struggling economically, with aging populations, a lack of skilled labor and — in some cases — restrictive immigration policies.