If stock market volatility, slowing economies, and low commodity prices were not enough of a problem for East Asia, many countries in the region now have to worry about losing as much as 15 percent of their working-age population by 2040, according to the World Bank.
In a report released Wednesday, the World Bank said aging population and low fertility rates are to blame as 36 percent of the world's population over 65 currently live in East Asia. That's 211 million people and it is projected to rise over time.
World Bank said rapid aging is a result of East Asia's breakneck pace of economic development in recent decades. Higher income and better education have led to longer life expectancy and lower fertility rates but also led to displacement of families and changing social values.
The report's lead author Philip O'Keefe told CNBC's "Capital Connection" on Wednesday when talking about policies to deal with rapid aging, it's not just old people who should be in focus.
"We start talking from early childhood, child-bearing age, working age, right through to older age," said O'Keefe.
To tackle the crunch in East Asian labor markets, the World Bank recommended policies such as encouraging more women to join the workforce, reforming existing pension schemes, and shifting healthcare focus from hospital care to primary care.