Personal Finance

5 Companies in This Sector Have Raised Their Dividend for at Least 41 Straight Years

AWR Dividend Chart
AWR Dividend Chart

AWR Dividend data by YCharts

As you can see from the above comparison we've seen some steady dividend growth from these five dividend aristocrats since 2002, with California Water Services Group bringing up the "caboose" with 16% total dividend growth, and American States Water, with its 60-year increase streak on the line, boosting its payout by close to 97%.

These water utility providers are also hitting the sweet spot for shareholders in terms of their payout ratio (the percentage of their earnings per share that they're paying out in the form of a dividend). A low payout ratio leaves plenty of room for improvement, but also demonstrates a company may not be doing all it can to share profits with investors. Conversely, a high payout ratio is welcome by shareholders in the short-term, but it brings into question the sustainability of a company's dividend growth potential over the long run.

Among these five dividend aristocrats the payout ratios range from a low of 51% with American States Water to a high of 74% with Middlesex Water Co. This isn't too surprising considering that Middlesex has the highest yield and American States Water the lowest among the group. This sweet spot -- between 50% and 75% -- gives these utilities ample room to steadily grow their payout while also adding a buffer in case growth somehow isn't up to par.

AWR data by YCharts

Because of their steady dividends and the basic-needs product they supply, investors who've been patient with water utilities over the long run have been handsomely rewarded with gains of as much as 1,800% over the past three-plus decades. With steady returns like these, it's a wonder why water utilities aren't a staple in more investors' portfolios.

If you're on the lookout for additional high-yield stocks, look no further than these recent top picks from our analysts!

The smartest investors know that dividend stocks simply crush their non-dividend paying counterparts over the long term. That's beyond dispute. They also know that a well-constructed dividend portfolio creates wealth steadily, while still allowing you to sleep like a baby. Knowing how valuable such a portfolio might be, our top analysts put together a report on a group of high-yielding stocks that should be in any income investor's portfolio. To see our free report on these stocks, just click here now .

The article 5 Companies in This Sector Have Raised Their Dividend for at Least 41 Straight Years originally appeared on

Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong , track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong , and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong .The Motley Fool recommends California Water Service Group. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days . We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .

Copyright © 1995 - 2014 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

In This Story


Other Topics


Latest Personal Finance Videos

    #TradeTalks: A Holistic Financial Picture to Give a True Indicator of your Financial Health

    Harvest Founder Nami Baral joins Jill Malandrino on Nasdaq #TradeTalks to discuss the Harvest PRO Index, holistic financial picture to give a true indicator of your financial health, not just a credit score.

    Oct 9, 2020

    The Motley Fool

    Founded in 1993 in Alexandria, VA., by brothers David and Tom Gardner, The Motley Fool is a multimedia financial-services company dedicated to building the world's greatest investment community. Reaching millions of people each month through its website, books, newspaper column, radio show, television appearances, and subscription newsletter services, The Motley Fool champions shareholder values and advocates tirelessly for the individual investor. The company's name was taken from Shakespeare, whose wise fools both instructed and amused, and could speak the truth to the king -- without getting their heads lopped off.

    Learn More