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The 2011 S&P Dividend Aristocrats

The S&P Dividend Aristocrats is a list of companies in the S&P500 that have increased their dividends each year for at least 25 consecutive years. It’s a starting point for a lot of dividend investors because 25 years is a long time and seen as a sign of reliability. Any one on the list has weathered not only the most recent recession but also the one in the late 1980’s as well as the dot com bust. It’s been a turbulent time but one thing must be clear – past performance is not indicative of future results. The list is a start but should not be the end of your research.

The list is updated annually to add and remove companies. There were several additions and several removals this year.

2011 Additions

Three companies were included because they recorded their 25th year of consecutive increases:

2011 Removals

Two titans of the list fell this year when both opted not to raise their dividend in 2010. Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY [6]) and Integrys Energy Group, Inc. (TEG [7]) both decided against raising their dividend, ending a 42 year and 51 year streak, respectively.

Supervalu Inc (SVU [8]) was a bit of a lame duck Aristocrat since they announced in late 2009 that they were going to slash their dividend in half.

2011 Dividend Aristocrats

Here is the current list:

Three up, three down, the list still has the same number of companies. If you think the bar is too high to be an aristrocrat, there’s also a list of Dividend Champions [49] – 25 years of maintaining or increasing the dividend. It’s a slightly lower bar, which includes many more companies, and might be a better place to start.