5 Dividend Aristocrat Stocks With Long Payout Histories

These reliable companies have raised their dividends every year for at least six straight decades.

Long-term income investors know that yield isn't everything when it comes to dividend stocks. Steadily rising payouts pay off down the road, too. Not only do rising dividends lift the yield on an investor's original cost basis, they're indicative of a firm's ability to withstand the economy's—and the market's—inevitable ups and downs.

The five companies below have increased their dividends annually for 60 years or more. That makes them elite members of the Dividend Aristocrats, which are companies in Standard & Poor's 500-stock index that have raised payouts for at least 25 consecutive years. (Data are as of February 8.)

The Aristocrats, which now total 57 companies, include household names whose size, longevity and familiarity provide comfort amid market uncertainty. They have been among the best dividend stocks for income growth over the past few decades, and they're a great place to start if you're looking to add new dividend holdings to your portfolio.

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Industrial conglomerate 3M (symbol MMM (opens in new tab); recent price, $200; dividend yield, 2.9%), which makes everything from adhesives to electric circuits, kicked off the new year on a down note. The Dow component lowered its 2019 profit outlook, in part because of sluggish demand from China.

Whatever the short-term hiccups in 3M's share price, investors can bank on the conglomerate's steady payouts over the long haul. 3M's dividend has improved annually for 60 consecutive years, and the payout dates back a century.

Dover (DOV (opens in new tab), $87, 2.2%) has its hands in all sorts of industries, from Dover-branded pumps, lifts and even productivity tools for the energy business, to Anthony-branded commercial refrigerator and freezer doors.

Dividend growth has been a priority for Dover, which at 63 consecutive years of annual distribution hikes boasts the third-longest such streak among publicly traded companies. Dover last raised its dividend in August 2018, when it upped the quarterly payout by 2% to 48 cents a share.

Emerson Electric (EMR (opens in new tab), $67, 2.9%) makes a wide variety of industrial products, ranging from control valves to electrical fittings. The downturn in oil prices weighed on Emerson for a couple years as energy companies continued to cut spending. Analysts now say it's well-positioned to take advantage of the recovery in the energy sector. Earnings are forecast to increase at an average annual rate of 9% for the next five years.

Emerson has paid dividends since 1956 and has boosted its annual payout for 62 consecutive years, including its last increase in November 2018. Last year, the company returned $2.2 billion to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases.

Automotive and industrial replacement parts maker Genuine Parts (GPC (opens in new tab), $103, 2.8%) is best-known for the Napa brand, though it also operates under AutoTodo in Mexico and UAP in Canada. Since its founding in 1928, it has pursued a strategy of acquisitions to fuel growth. At the end of 2017, it bought Alliance Automotive Group, one of the largest distribution companies in Europe, for $2 billion.

A longtime dividend machine, GPC has hiked its payout annually for 62 years. That includes a 7% improvement to its distribution in February 2018.

With major brands such as Pampers diapers and Gillette razors, Procter & Gamble (PG (opens in new tab), $98, 2.9%) is among the world's largest consumer products companies. Although the economy ebbs and flows, demand for products such as toothpaste and soap tends to remain stable. That hardly makes P&G completely recession-proof, but it has helped fuel reliable dividend payments for more than a century. The Dow component has paid shareholders a dividend since 1890, and it has raised its dividend annually for 62 years in a row. P&G last increased its payout in April 2018.

Dan Burrows
Senior Investing Writer, Kiplinger.com

Dan Burrows is a financial writer at Kiplinger, having joined the august publication full time in 2016.

A long-time financial journalist, Dan is a veteran of SmartMoney, MarketWatch, CBS MoneyWatch, InvestorPlace and DailyFinance. He has written for The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Consumer Reports, Senior Executive and Boston magazine, and his stories have appeared in the New York Daily News, the San Jose Mercury News and Investor's Business Daily, among other publications. As a senior writer at AOL's DailyFinance, Dan reported market news from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and hosted a weekly video segment on equities.

Once upon a time – before his days as a financial reporter and assistant financial editor at legendary fashion trade paper Women's Wear Daily – Dan worked for Spy magazine, scribbled away at Time Inc. and contributed to Maxim magazine back when lad mags were a thing. He's also written for Esquire magazine's Dubious Achievements Awards.

In his current role at Kiplinger, Dan writes about equities, fixed income, currencies, commodities, funds, macroeconomics and more.

Dan holds a bachelor's degree from Oberlin College and a master's degree from Columbia University.

Disclosure: Dan does not trade stocks or other securities. Rather, he dollar-cost averages into cheap funds and index funds and holds them forever in tax-advantaged accounts.