These businesses have survived the 2000 dot-com bubble, 2007-09 financial crisis, 2020 pandemic, and today's era of high inflation and rising interest rates. All while paying higher dividends every year.
Many investors like dividend aristocrats because of their time-tested durability. These companies have remained relevant for decades while continuing to generate reliable cash flow and maintain solid financial health.
The table below contains a downloadable list of dividend aristocrats with up-to-date dividend yields and Dividend Safety Scores™.
Below the table you'll find:
- Our 5 favorite dividend aristocrats for long-term growth
- Former dividend aristocrats that cut their payouts
- Stocks set to become dividend aristocrats in 2023, 2024, and beyond
If you're looking for more stocks with impressive dividend histories, make sure to check out our analysis of the dividend kings, companies with 50-plus years of payout raises.
2024 Dividend Aristocrats List
Dividend Aristocrats by Sector
These industries are generally characterized by a fast pace of change or high cyclicality, which makes consistent dividend growth harder to achieve.
Dividend aristocrats are concentrated in more stable sectors, with industrials, consumer staples, healthcare, and utilities accounting for 41 of these 68 impressive companies.
Here's a look at every dividend aristocrat by sector and the number of consecutive years each has increased its dividend:
* Note: S&P added J.M. Smucker to the dividend aristocrat index in January 2023 despite the firm having a 21-year dividend growth streak, which management also confirms. Smucker's dividend was frozen from June 1995 - March 1998 but has otherwise been paid without interruption since 1972.
** Note: S&P added Kenvue to the dividend aristocrats index in August 2023 after the consumer healthcare firm was spun off by Johnson & Johnson. Kenvue was given credit for J&J's dividend growth streak and should have no trouble continuing it with an A credit rating, payout ratio near 65%, and recession-resistant products.
Not All Dividend Aristocrats Survive
The list of aristocrats has survivorship bias because investors only see the stocks that have continued raising their payouts every year.
In 2007, there were 60 dividend aristocrats. But 16 of these stocks cut or suspended their dividends during the financial crisis, with nine of those cuts coming from bank stocks.
Few companies have lost their aristocrat status since then as the economy has avoided a prolonged contraction, making it easier for businesses to maintain their payouts.
However, several former aristocrats still cut their dividends over this period:
- Walgreens, a drugstore chain, slashed its dividend nearly in half at the start of 2024 after a costly pivot into health services took longer to turn profitable and left the firm saddled with too much debt.
- V.F. Corp, owner of The North Face and Vans brands, cut its dividend in 2023 after excess inventory and softening demand pressured margins, free cash flow, and balance sheet leverage.
- AT&T, a telecom and media conglomerate, chopped its dividend in 2021 as part of a plan to spin off its media assets and reduce debt, which had ballooned following ill-timed deals to acquire DirecTV and Time Warner.
- HCP, since renamed Healthpeak, reduced its dividend in 2014 after deciding to spin off its struggling skilled nursing business, resulting in less cash flow to support the payout.
- Pitney Bowes cut its dividend in half in 2013 and reduced its payout by another 73% in 2019. The provider of mail and document services had faced years of declining cash flow due to weaker demand for mail, stressing dividend coverage and the firm's balance sheet.
- CenturyLink, now known as Lumen, froze its dividend in 2011 before cutting the payout by 26% in 2013. The capital-intensive, debt-ridden telecom company continued to struggle, leading to another dividend cut in 2019 and a suspension in 2022.
Odds of a dividend cut have also increased for 3M (large settlement payments, weakening balance sheet).
The most reliable dividend aristocrats maintain strong financial health, serve end markets that have a slow pace of change, and perform well in recessions.
Let's take a look at some of our favorite aristocrats that possess these qualities.
Top 5 Dividend Aristocrats
Dividend Aristocrat #5: Roper
Dividend Yield: 0.6%
Dividend Safety Score: Very Safe
Latest Dividend Increase: +9.9% in November 2023
The brands above are likely unfamiliar to most investors because they serve niches in end markets such as legal, education, health care, construction, transportation, government, and media entertainment.
But these companies maintain leadership positions in their relatively small markets, provide mission-critical functionality, enjoy very high customer retention rate, and generate excellent free cash flow due to their asset-light business models.
Roper makes material acquisitions of software companies that fit this profile almost every year. The firm also prunes its portfolio to eliminate as much cyclicality as possible. For example, Roper in recent years has divested businesses that represented 40% of the company's 2018 revenue.
Management's capital allocation decisions have served investors well, with Roper's stock significantly outperforming the S&P 500 over the past decade.
And unlike some serial acquirers, Roper maintains a solid BBB+ credit rating. This reflects the stability of Roper's large base of recurring revenue and management's disciplined use of leverage when financing acquisitions.
Overall, Roper's earnings and dividend seem likely to keep growing at a double-digit clip. The decentralized software conglomerate should remain relevant for years to come and remain one of the best dividend aristocrats for growth.
Dividend Aristocrat #4: NextEra Energy
Dividend Yield: 3.0%
Dividend Safety Score: Very Safe
Latest Dividend Increase: +10% in February 2023
Formed in 1925, NextEra Energy's (NEE) electric utility Florida Power & Light serves nearly 6 million customer accounts across the Sunshine State.
This regulated business generates around 70% of the firm's cash flow and benefits from Florida's strong population growth and favorable regulatory environment.
The predictable cash flow from NextEra Energy's Florida utility supports substantial growth investments in clean energy.
The firm's NextEra Energy Resources division is the world's largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun and a leader in battery storage.
While these businesses are nonregulated, their cash flow is secured by long-term contracts for the clean power they produce.
Demand for renewable energy should rise in the decades ahead as more companies prioritize eliminating carbon from their electric use and core operations.
NextEra Energy's unique exposure to stable regulated activities and the faster-growing renewable energy space is expected to enable 10% annual dividend growth through at least 2024.
While the A- rated utility does not offer as high of a dividend as most of its peers, NextEra Energy's faster growth profile makes the company one of the more appealing dividend aristocrats for long-term investors.
NEE's share price has come under pressure in recent weeks after the firm's subsidiary, NextEra Energy Partners (NEP), lowered its growth outlook due to rising interest rates. NEE's long-term outlook and dividend profile continue to look stable to us, though. See our note here for more information.
Dividend Aristocrat #3: S&P Global
Dividend Safety Score: Very Safe
Latest Dividend Increase: +5.9% in January 2023
S&P Global's (SPGI) foundation began forming in 1860 when Henry Poor published "History of the Railroads and Canals of the United States," the first effort to give investors data on the growing U.S. railroad industry.
Today, S&P Global generates nearly half of its operating profits from providing credit ratings used by investors to make decisions about buying bonds and other fixed income securities.
The world's financial infrastructure could not operate efficiently without this information, which S&P Global has provided for over 150 years, building a trusted reputation along the way.
The cash flow generated by ratings is sensitive to the amount of corporate and government debt issued any given year. But this business should continue tracking the economy's growth over the long run since that drives debt issuance.
The rest of S&P Global's business is spread across various research, data, and analytics subscription services used by investment banks, asset managers, and other institutions.
The firm also maintains a wide variety of indices, such as the S&P 500, that primarily earn fees when investors put money into ETFs and mutual funds that are based on these benchmarks.
Overall, S&P Global owns a vast collection of proprietary data, research, and brands that the financial world depends on.
Most of these businesses are asset-light and enjoy recurring revenue, resulting in predictable earnings and very high margins that should continue to support fast dividend growth.
Dividend Aristocrat #2: ADP
Dividend Safety Score: Very Safe
Latest Dividend Increase: +12% in November 2023
Automatic Data Processing (ADP) was founded in 1949 and is one of the largest providers of human capital management (HCM) software and solutions in the world. From payroll and benefits administration to HR outsourcing, ADP provides services that businesses need to function.
Most of these businesses generate recurring revenue and client retention rates that exceed 90%, demonstrating their critical nature and the high switching costs associated with many types of software.
ADP maintains leadership positions across most of its HCM solutions. With a broad suite of products, the company has room to expand its existing client relationships through cross-selling.
The market for HCM solutions is also very large and fragmented. Despite being the largest player, ADP has just 10% share of this $150 billion space, which is growing 5% to 6% annually.
As more businesses embrace modern technology to automate non-core HR functions and reduce costs, ADP sees opportunity to generate 11% to 13% adjusted EPS growth in the years ahead.
Coupled with a strong balance sheet that earns an AA- credit rating, ADP has potential to keep delivering double-digit dividend growth, making the firm one of the fastest-growing aristocrats.
Dividend Aristocrat #1: Air Products
Dividend Safety Score: Very Safe
Latest Dividend Increase: +8% in February 2023
Founded in 1940, Air Products (APD) is one of the largest global producers of industrial gases such as oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen. The firm supplies gases to over 30 industries worldwide, including refining, chemicals, electronics, metals, manufacturing, medical, and food.
Air Products generates around half of its revenue from on-site plants that deliver gas to customers directly via pipeline.
This integrated infrastructure gives customers assurance they will receive a reliable supply of gas, and they enter 15- to 20-plus-year contracts with Air Products. With limited volume risk and no raw materials risks (costs are passed through), this provides a steady revenue stream.
Another third of revenue is generated from gas produced at these plants and delivered in tanker trucks to surrounding customers. This is a density game given the high cost to transport gas, giving incumbents an economic advantage.
With a secure base of recurring cash flow backed by hard-to-replicate infrastructure, essential products with no substitutes, a diversified customer base, and an A credit rating, Air Products has paid higher dividends for 40 consecutive years.
While the firm’s payout ratio near 70% is not low, Air Product’s large backlog has potential to deliver double-digit EPS growth, driving the dividend higher at a healthy clip as well.
The Next Dividend Aristocrats
Future 2024 Dividend Aristocrats
- Fastenal (FAST): a distributor of industrial supplies with very low leverage, countercyclical cash flow, and a long history of double-digit dividend growth.
- FactSet (FDS): the provider of data and analytics software to financial services firms has been a model of stability with over 40 consecutive years of revenue growth and high margins.
Future 2025 Dividend Aristocrats
- Eversource (ES): the large regulated utility serves the U.S. Northeast and has an A- credit rating, stable earnings stream, and mid-single-digit dividend growth potential.
Closing Thoughts on Dividend Aristocrats
Many of these companies generate predictable cash flow, maintain prudent balance sheets, and have shareholder-friendly management teams.
Investors considering dividend aristocrats just have to believe that the future remains as bright as the past for these impressive dividend growth stocks.
By the way, many of the people interested in dividend aristocrats are retirees seeking to generate dependable income from dividend stocks.
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