A MetLife Mature Market Institute study reveals a picture of the generations born since the early years of the twentieth century. In the U.S., the generation known as “Generation Y,” whose members were born between 1977 and 1994, is almost as large as the baby boom generation. The fastest growing age group is those over 85, who are six million strong and include 99,000 centenarians.

“The profiles provide a snapshot of four generations.,” said institute director Sandra Timmermann. “These profiles will be useful tools for anyone studying the generations and for all of us interested in relating personally and professionally to those older and younger than we are. There are implications for parenting, caregiving, financial and estate planning, health care, relationships, employment, diversity and the economy.”

The generational profiles draw on federal census data as well as data from the U.S. Department of Labor and examine such factors as life expectancy, health status, marital status, living arrangements, racial and ethnic identity, geography, employment status, income level, spending preferences and generational influencers.