DEFINITION of 'Dividend Aristocrat'

A company that has continuously increased the amount of dividends it pays to its shareholders. To be considered a dividend aristocrat, a company must typically have raised dividends for at least 25 years. More specifically, the company needs to have a managed dividend policy that increased its dividend every year for those 25 years.

Companies that are able to maintain high dividend yields are often considered to be more stable than others, and because stocks maintaining this association must keep yields consistently high, the list of aristocrats is often under 100 companies.

BREAKING DOWN 'Dividend Aristocrat'

Dividend aristocrats are rare because most companies are unable to continually boost dividend payouts while also facing recessions and market shocks. Two of the more popular ways of tracking this type of company are through the S&P Dividend Aristocrats and the S&P High-Yield Dividend Aristocrats indexes, which track the performance of companies that have increased dividends for at least 25 years. The index is weighted according to each stock's yield.

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