2021’s Dividend Aristocrats List: All 65 Stocks

Income investors often turn to bonds for yield, but with interest rates so low for so long, the stock market can sometimes be a better option, with many stocks offering better payoffs than a 10-year Treasury, which pays less than 2%.

But dividend yields themselves don’t mean much if they aren’t sustainable. That’s why being a member of the dividend aristocrats is such a distinction: There are 65 members of the S&P 500 that haven’t just paid dividends for at least 25 consecutive years — they’ve raised their dividends for a minimum of 25 straight years.

Just the two requirements that a stock must be a member of the vaunted S&P 500 and that it has a record of 25 years’ worth of dividend increases alone are stringent enough screens to guarantee investors are looking at a list of strong, reliable companies.

But the requirements go even further, with the following attributes also mandatory for membership on the dividend aristocrats list:

— Companies must be worth at least $3 billion at the time of each quarterly S&P 500 rebalancing.

— Average daily volume of at least $5 million in transactions for every trailing three-month period at every quarterly rebalancing date.

[Sign up for stock news with our Invested newsletter.]

The rebalancing of the index happens every January, April, July and October. New entrants are added and old ones removed once a year.

It’s important to keep in mind the goal of the index when looking it over: It’s constructed to be a well-diversified, lower-volatility group of stocks boasting both dividend income and capital appreciation potential.

S&P Dow Jones Indices, the index owner, notes that almost one-third of total equity market returns since 1926 have come from dividends and that its selection criteria and diversification requirements make the dividend aristocrat stocks uniquely positioned to do well as a group.

On the issue of diversification, the index has a minimum floor on membership at 40 companies — a level in no danger of being breached anytime soon, given that the current group consists of 65 stocks.

The index also caps the weighting of any single sector at 30%, limiting the impact of any single sector’s hit on the broader portfolio.

To that end, while investors could certainly try to adopt their own ” smart beta” strategies to eliminate the less alluring members of the group, it’s a much lower-effort endeavor to simply buy the entire group as a whole, which is possible due to the existence of dividend aristocrats exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, that track the portfolio.

The ProShares S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats ETF (ticker: NOBL) is the premier exchange-traded fund in the space, with more than $8 billion in assets under management and a reasonable expense ratio of 0.35%.

Here’s a full list of all 65 S&P 500 dividend aristocrats and how long each has been increasing its payouts to shareholders. The list is current through October 2021.

(Read more after the table for info on recent additions and subtractions, as well as a special note about one member.)

Company Sector Years of Dividend Growth Dividend Yield (as of Oct. 29)
3M Co. (MMM) Industrials 63 3.3%
A.O. Smith Co. (AOS) Industrials 28 1.5%
Abbott Laboratories (ABT) Health care 49 1.4%
AbbVie Inc. (ABBV) Health care 49 4.5%
Aflac Inc. (AFL) Financials 38 2.5%
Air Products and Chemicals Inc. (APD) Materials 39 2.0%
Albemarle Corp. (ALB) Materials 27 0.6%
Amcor PLC (AMCR) Materials 38 3.9%
Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. (ADM) Consumer staples 47 2.3%
AT&T Inc. (T) Communications services 36 8.2%
Atmos Energy Corp. (ATO) Utilities 34 2.7%
Automatic Data Processing Inc. (ADP) Information technology 46 1.7%
Becton, Dickinson & Co. (BDX) Health care 49 1.4%
Brown-Forman Corp. (BF-B) Consumer staples 37 1.1%
Cardinal Health Inc. (CAH) Health care 34 4.1%
Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) Industrials 27 2.2%
Chevron Corp. (CVX) Energy 34 4.7%
Chubb Ltd. (CB) Financials 28 1.6%
Cincinnati Financial Corp. (CINF) Financials 61 2.1%
Cintas Corp. (CTAS) Industrials 37 0.9%
The Clorox Co. (CLX) Consumer staples 45 2.9%
The Coca-Cola Co. (KO) Consumer staples 59 3.0%
Colgate-Palmolive Co. (CL) Consumer staples 59 2.4%
Consolidated Edison Inc. (ED) Utilities 47 4.1%
Dover Corp. (DOV) Industrials 65 1.2%
Ecolab Inc. (ECL) Materials 29 0.9%
Emerson Electric Co. (EMR) Industrials 59 2.1%
Essex Property Trust Inc. (ESS) Real estate 27 2.5%
Expeditors International of Washington Inc. (EXPD) Industrials 27 0.9%
ExxonMobil Corp. (XOM) Energy 37 5.5%
Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRT) Real estate 49 3.6%
Franklin Resources Inc. (BEN) Financials 40 3.6%
General Dynamics Corp. (GD) Industrials 30 2.3%
Genuine Parts Co. (GPC) Consumer discretionary 65 2.4%
Hormel Foods Corp. (HRL) Consumer staples 55 2.3%
Illinois Tool Works Inc. (ITW) Industrials 50 2.1%
International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) Information technology 25 5.2%
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) Health care 59 2.6%
Kimberly-Clark Corp. (KMB) Consumer staples 48 3.5%
Leggett & Platt Inc. (LEG) Consumer discretionary 50 3.6%
Linde PLC (LIN) Materials 28 1.3%
Lowe’s Companies Inc. (LOW) Consumer discretionary 47 1.4%
McCormick & Co. (MKC) Consumer staples 35 1.7%
McDonald’s Corp. (MCD) Consumer discretionary 44 2.3%
Medtronic PLC (MDT) Health care 43 2.1%
NextEra Energy Inc. (NEE) Utilities 25 1.8%
Nucor Corp. (NUE) Materials 48 1.5%
Pentair PLC (PNR) Industrials 44 1.1%
People’s United Financial Inc. (PBCT) Financials 28 4.3%
PepsiCo Inc. (PEP) Consumer staples 48 2.7%
PPG Industries Inc. (PPG) Materials 49 1.5%
The Procter & Gamble Co.(PG) Consumer staples 65 2.4%
Realty Income Corp. (O) Real estate 26 4.0%
Roper Technologies Inc. (ROP) Industrials 28 0.5%
S&P Global Inc. (SPGI) Financials 48 0.7%
Sherwin-Williams Co. (SHW) Materials 42 0.7%
Stanley Black & Decker Inc. (SWK) Industrials 53 1.8%
Sysco Corp. (SYY) Consumer staples 41 2.4%
T. Rowe Price Group Inc. (TROW) Financials 35 2.0%
Target Corp. (TGT) Consumer discretionary 49 1.4%
VF Corp. (VFC) Consumer discretionary 49 2.7%
W.W. Grainger Inc. (GWW) Industrials 50 1.4%
Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (WBA) Consumer staples 45 4.1%
Walmart Inc. (WMT) Consumer staples 48 1.5%
West Pharmaceutical Services Inc. (WST) Health care 28 0.2%

Recent Additions and Subtractions

Although the total number of dividend aristocrats remained stagnant at 65 between 2020 and 2021, there are actually three new members of the index over the last year or so and three stocks that were removed.

Here are the three newest dividend aristocrats:

IBM. The old-school tech giant clocked its 25th straight year of dividend increases last year, making Big Blue a proud new member of the elite club.

Although things have been slowly improving for IBM shareholders over the last year, some critics actually fault IBM for focusing more on dividends than long-term, bold investments in innovation. IBM has been an extremely underwhelming performer for more than a decade, with shares having gained no ground since 2010.

NextEra Energy. Electric utility NextEra Energy is also a new member of the list as of 2021, having clocked 25 straight years of dividend growth. Unlike IBM, this has come alongside impressive long-term share performance, and the company has some of the most impressive clean energy operations among large U.S. companies, known for its growing focus on wind and solar.

West Pharmaceutical Services. Although this medical supplies company has actually clocked 28 straight years of dividend growth, WST is new to the S&P dividend aristocrats merely because it only joined the S&P 500 in 2020.

[See: Best Dividend Stocks to Buy This Month.]

That can happen when you grow as quickly as West Pharmaceutical Services. As recently as 2012, shares were trading for less than $20; the stock recently hit all-time highs around $475.

And because all things must come to an end, here are the three stocks making their way out of the index:

Carrier Global Corp. (CARR). It’s no coincidence that these three particular companies just lost their status as dividend aristocrats: They’re all the result of a 2020 merger between United Technologies and Raytheon that created the newly formed aerospace and defense giant Raytheon Technologies.

Heating, air conditioning and refrigeration company Carrier Global was spun off from United Technologies in preparation for the merger and began trading as a stand-alone stock in 2020.

Otis Worldwide Corp. (OTIS). Elevator and escalator giant Otis was in an identical situation last year, spinning off into its own corporate entity to help make the Raytheon-United Technologies merger more amenable to regulators.

Although the new company still pays a dividend, it’s no dividend aristocrat.

Raytheon Technologies Corp. (RTX). The newly formed defense and aerospace giant Raytheon Technologies will enjoy other benefits from its business combination in the form of increased market share and will make the segment more competitive with the likes of Boeing ( BA) in the commercial aerospace field. Alas, RTX still pays a dividend and may remain a sound investment, but it’s no longer a dividend aristocrat.

Notable mention: AT&T. Although technically a member of the illustrious dividend aristocrats list — and an impressive one at that, with a list-leading 8.2% dividend yield — the telecom and media giant is almost certain to forfeit its spot on this list in 2022. That’s because of its decision to spin off the WarnerMedia division, which will reduce its free cash flow and simultaneously see AT&T cut its dividend payout ratio. The only way AT&T doesn’t drop from the list is is if the transaction fails to go through or the company dramatically alters its stated dividend policy post-spin.

More from U.S. News

What’s the Best Cryptocurrency to Buy Now? 7 Contenders

10 Best ETFs to Buy for 2021

Should You Buy Shiba Inu? 3 Pros, 3 Cons

2021’s Dividend Aristocrats List: All 65 Stocks originally appeared on usnews.com

Related Categories:

Latest News

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up