Last Updated on August 5, 2021 by Dividend Power
In this article I provide an updated list of the Dividend Kings in 2021 along with select financial data and analysis. The Dividend Kings in 2021 are U.S. stocks that that have grown their dividend for 50+ years in a row. This is a very select list as only 34 companies have successfully done so as of August 5, 2021. This is one more than at the start of the year. This is out of nearly 6,000 companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges (NASDAQ and NYSE) at end of 2020. The data for this list is updated monthly.
These companies have survived periods of inflation, stock market crashes, global crisis and deep recessions. In the past 50 years their dividends have survived seven recessions, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, fall of the Berlin War and the Soviet Union, 9/11 in 2001, the dot-com bust, the Great Recession and COVID-19.
The 2021 Dividend Kings may not have grown revenue and earnings per share every year, but they annually raised the dividend without fail. This length of time points to the durability of their businesses and sustainability of their dividends. This is extremely important for investors seeking produce passive income for retirement or build wealth.
As of this writing, no Dividend King has cut or suspended its dividend yet due to the coronavirus pandemic. If you are interested in the list of stocks that have cut or suspended their dividend due to the COVID-19 pandemic take a look at my article on Coronavirus Dividend Cuts and Suspensions. It contains over 500 stocks on the list. I update this list weekly. The Dividend Kings most close to falling off the list are Sysco (SYY), which last raised the dividend in in January 2020 and Parker-Hannifin (PH), which last raised the dividend in April of 2019. Both companies have been adversely affect by the pandemic.
If you are interested in investing in stocks that pay dividends I recommend signing up for the Sure Dividend Newsletter*. It is a reasonably priced and one of the best dividend newsletters available. There is a 7-day free trial and grace period so it is risk free. The service provides top 10 stock picks with discussion of advantages, valuation, and risks. I highly recommend them and use their insights for my own stock research. If you want to educate yourself more about dividend investing, then I suggest taking a course. The Simply Investing Course* is a good value and fairly comprehensive.
Performance Update for the Dividend Kings 2021
The Dividend Kings are currently (as of August 05, 2021) are trading at an elevated valuation of a trailing average price-to-earnings ratio of about 29.3X. This is down since last month. The current average dividend yield is about 2.31%. The trailing average 10-year dividend growth rate is about 7.11%. The average payout ratio is approximately 84.4%. The average market cap is currently $55,612 million. Currently, the Dividend King with the highest yield is Altria Group (MO) at about 7.4%, and the one trading with the lowest earnings multiple is Cincinnati Financial (CINF). You can take a look at updated select financial data and the dividend earnings calendar for each stock in the Dividend Kings list in the tables at end of the article.
In the trailing 1-year the Dividend Kings as a group have returned +32.1% (blue line) as a group compared to +33.8% for the S&P 500 (as measured by SPY), as seen in the chart below. I used Stock Rover* for this chart. Over the trailing 5-years the Dividend Kings have returned +80.0% and the S&P 500 has returned +104.1%.
Additions to the Dividend Kings in 2021
In 2021, Universal Corp (UVV) and Grainger (GWW) were added to the list of Dividend Kings. Universal is a global seller of leaf tobacco. The company interacts with farmers and manufacturers of tobacco products. The company recently expanded into sweet potatoes and is seeking to expand into other agricultural products. Grainger is an industrial distributor.
Additions to the Dividend Kings in 2020
In 2020, Sysco Corp (SYY), National Fuel Gas (NFG), and Black Hills Corporation (BKH), were added to the list of Dividend Kings. National Fuel Gas is a diversified utility with upstream, midstream, and downstream assets. The utility owns a regulated natural gas distribution segment. But it also has segments in exploration and production, pipeline and storage, and gathering. Sysco is a large food service distributor with operations in the U.S., UK, Canada, and France. Black Hills, which is the latest addition, is a multi-utility with electric utilities, gas utilities, power generation, and mining operations.
Deletions to the Dividend Kings in 2020
There were no stocks removed from there Dividend Kings list in 2020.
Other Dividend Stock Lists
I have also written articles with several other lists and analyses on U.S. dividend growth stocks including:
- List of Dividend Aristocrats in 2021
- List of Dividend Champions in 2021
- List of Dividend Contenders in 2021
- List of Dividend Challengers in 2021
- Dogs of the Dow in 2021
For Canadian stocks, I have written about
For UK stocks, I have written about
Other dividend stock lists
Some Details on the Dividend Kings in 2021
Water Utilities Have a Major Presence
The company with the longest track record as a Dividend King is American States Water (AWR) with 66 years of straight increases. There were four water utilities on this list at the start of 2019. But Connecticut Water Service (CTWS) was acquired by SJW Corp (SJW) in 2019. This reduced the number to three. It is not surprising that water utilities have a high representation on this list. They provide an essential product for consumers and industries. The business does not grow fast but grows along with population growth over time. The market and dividend growth investors have largely recognized this now and water utilities often trade at elevated valuations, but they do exhibit low volatility. The three remaining water utilities on the Dividend Kings list are trading at an earning multiple greater than the broader market for some time. For instance, American States Water trades at price-to-earnings ratios of over 30X.
Only One REIT on the Dividend Kings 2021 List
There is only one real estate investment trust (REIT) on the list, Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRT). FRT is a shopping center REIT that operates in eight metropolitan areas. There are currently no master limited partnerships (MLPs) on the list.
Market Size of the Dividend Kings 2021
Interestingly, the list is not dominated by large cap companies but includes quite a few mid-cap companies ($2 billion – $10 billion) and small cap companies ($300 million – $2 billion). The largest company on the Dividend Kings list by market capitalization is Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) at about $442 billion. The smallest company on the Dividend Kings list by market capitalization is Universal Corporation (UVV) at about $1.4 billion. There is one over the counter stock that could be on the Dividend Kings list.
What I Like About the Dividend Kings?
The Dividend King list in 2021 serves as a screen for further investigating a stock for a dividend growth portfolio. It is a list of companies with stable business that have competitive advantages and have returned cash to shareholders consistently through dividends for an extended period of time. As a dividend growth investor this is a place to start for me.
Some investors ask “What’s the big deal about the Dividend Kings?” In my opinion it is a measure of success. I mean 32 Dividend Kings divided by 6,000 companies is about 0.53%. So, very few companies can match this track record of dividend growth.
The Dividend Kings list changes only very slowly. Each year there are a few additions on average. However, the Dividend Kings list exhibits persistence. Once a company is on the list it tends to stay on the list. I believe that this is due to effort by each company’s management to maintain the dividend.
Sometimes companies are deleted from the Dividend Kings list due to mergers and acquisitions. For instance, Vectren and Connecticut Water Service were deleted from the list in 2019 since they were acquired.
However, there are some companies that do fall off the list for not raising the dividend or even worse cutting or suspending the dividend. In the past this has included Winn-Dixie (WINN), Ohio Casualty Corp (eventually acquired), Aon PLC (AON), Integrys Energy Group (TEG), Masco (MSA), and Diebold (DBD). I refer readers to an article on the Dividend Growth Investor blog on the evolution of the Dividend Kings list over the years. But in general most of these companies had several years in a row of operating difficulties or high leverage. Eventually, this led to a freeze in the dividend and subsequently removal from the list.
Dividend Kings Historical Performance
On absolute terms the Dividend Kings have solid performance. The Dividend Kings have performed better than the S&P 500 with lower volatility over the past 20 years starting in 1999 through end of 2019. The 29 Dividend Kings during this time had a compound annual growth rate or CAGR of approximately 24.7% versus about 22.9% for the S&P 500. The internal rate of return or IRR is approximately 11.6% for the Dividend Kings and roughly 9.2% for the S&P 500.
There are three reasons for this. The Dividend Kings have less years with negative returns. During this time period the Dividend Kings had only two down years while the S&P 500 had four down years. Next, the worst down years for the S&P 500 was much worse than that of the Dividend Kings. the worst year for the Dividend Kings was only -17.62% while the worst year for the S&P 500 was a whopping -36.81% or more than double that of the Dividend Kings. The S&P 500 could not make this up on in the best year. Lastly, the Dividend Kings outperformed the S&P 500 in 12 out of 20 years. You can check my article where I compare the Dividend Kings versus S&P 500 if you want more details.
The Dividend Kings also experienced lower volatility than the S&P 500 during the time period in question. The standard deviation of returns of was about 12.5% for the Dividend Kings versus roughly 14.4% for the S&P 500. The combination of higher rates of return and lower standard deviation results in a higher Sharpe ratio of 0.74 for the Dividend Kings versus 0.39 for the S&P 500 (based on monthly returns and 1-month U.S. Treasury bill). This indicates that the Dividend Kings have higher risk-adjusted performance compared to the S&P 500.
Discrepancies in the Dividend Kings 2021
There are five discrepancies on the Dividend Kings 2021 list. Target (TGT), Illinois Tool Works (ITW), MSA Safety (MSA), Altria (MO), and Tootsie Roll Industries (TR) regarding the number of years that they have paid a growing dividend. There is a question of whether they are yet Dividend Kings or not. Some sites and blog authors count these stocks as Dividend Kings and others do not. I am including Target and Altria as a Dividend King but excluding Illinois Tool Works, MSA Safety, and Tootsie Roll from the list.
Target has paid a growing annual dividend for at least 49 years according to its website. From 1970 – 1971 Target paid an annual cash dividend of $0.0104. In 1972, the company raised the dividend to $0.0108. So, based on this information Target has actually raised the annual dividend for 49 years. It would actually become a Dividend King next year assuming it raises the dividend. However, some lists and websites show Target raising the dividend for 53 years. I am not certain where these sites get the 53 years number. But Target initiated a dividend at end of 1967 so it has paid a dividend for 53 consecutive years. There was a 2:1 stock split in 1969 so that may be confusing the issue. However, at this point it is clear that Target is a Dividend Aristocrat and Dividend Champion, but not yet a Dividend King.
The second discrepancy is for Illinois Tool Works (ITW). The company has paid a growing dividend for at least 49 years. The company claims to have raised its dividend for 56 years. Some websites also show the 56 year value. However, the Dividend Investing Resource Center website shows that ITW has raised its dividend for 45 straight years. I refer to the excellent research by Dividend Growth Investor, who determined that ITW did not raise its dividend in 1971. The company acknowledges this in their 2019 ITW Annual Report where they state “ITW’s annual dividend payment has increased for more than 56 consecutive years, except during a period of government controls in 1971.” ITW did start increasing its dividend again in 1972. So, based on this ITW would be a Dividend King in 2021 assuming that it did raise the dividend in this year. For now, ITW is a Dividend Aristocrat and Dividend Champion.
MSA Safety is the third stock that has a discrepancy. The company’s press releases in 2019 and 2020 state that MSA Safety has raised the dividend for over 50 years. A few bloggers state the number of years as 50 years. However, most data sets indicate only 49 consecutive years. In addition, the Dividend Resource Investing Center shows that MSA Safety has raised the dividend for only 49 years. I am leaving the stock as a Dividend Champion for now and not including it on the Dividend Kings list. In any case, MSA Safety should make the Dividend Kings list in 2021 provided they raise the dividend.
Altria is the fourth stock with a discrepancy. The company was part of Philip Morris (PM) and was divested in 2008. The dividend was cut but the combined dividend was reportedly still the same as before the split. However, due to the divestment and reducing in the dividend some datasets have Altria with only 12 years of dividend growth. The quantitative rules that are used by Portfolio Insight* makes this a dividend cut. Hence, we have not included it in the Dividend Kings list.
The fifth discrepancy is Tootsie Roll. Tootsie Roll does increase its regular cash dividend periodically but the stock does not have over 50 straight annual increases. Why do so me lists include Tootsie Roll as a Dividend King? The company also pays a 3% stock dividend that is recorded as 103-to-100 stock split. This results in an adjustment to past dividends each year. For this reason, I have decided to leave Tootsie Roll off the Dividend Kings list.
The next discrepancy is Farmers & Merchants Bancorp (FMBC). The banks has raised the dividend for over 50 years in row. However, the bank trades over the counter is only very thinly traded. This means greater risks for small investors. Hence, I have omitted this bank from the Dividend Kings list.
Who’s On Deck?
There are multiple Dividend Champions that have raised their dividend for 49 years. This includes Becton Dickinson & Co (BDX), MSA Safety (MSA), Computer Services (CVSI), W.W. Grainger (GWW), PPG Industries (PPG), Tennant Company (TNC), and Leggett & Platt (LEG).
List of Dividend Kings in 2021 – Updated 08/05/21
Dividend Yield (%)
Payout Ratio (%)
10-yr Dividend Growth Rate (%)
TTM P/E Ratio
Market Cap (millions)
|ABM||ABM Indus||54||1.6||23.4||3.1||14.6||$ 3,134|
|AWR||American States Water||67||1.6||52.8||9.1||36.6||$ 3,378|
|BKH||Black Hills||51||3.2||59.8||4.5||19.2||$ 4,437|
|CBSH||Commerce Bancshares||53||1.5||29.0||6.4||14.8||$ 8,059|
|CINF||Cincinnati Financial||61||2.2||13.9||4.6||6.6||$ 18,760|
|CWT||California Water Service||54||1.4||29.8||4.1||22.1||$ 3,391|
|EMR||Emerson Electric||64||2.0||56.5||3.9||28.6||$ 60,604|
|FRT||Federal Realty Investment||54||3.5||278.3||4.7||79.7||$ 9,417|
|FUL||H.B. Fuller||52||1.0||21.3||8.4||21.2||$ 3,384|
|GPC||Genuine Parts||65||2.6||57.0||6.1||22||$ 17,784|
|GWW||W.W. Grainger||50||1.5||37.9||9.4||27||$ 22,873|
|HRL||Hormel Foods||55||2.2||58.2||14.4||28.1||$ 24,674|
|ITW||Illinois Tool Works||58||2.0||64.1||12.9||27||$ 71,698|
|JNJ||Johnson & Johnson||59||2.4||60.6||6.4||26.1||$ 457,236|
|LANC||Lancaster Colony||59||1.6||56.6||8.6||37.2||$ 5,247|
|LEG||Leggett & Platt||50||3.5||75.1||4.5||16.2||$ 6,449|
|LOW||Lowe’s Companies||59||1.7||25.5||19.0||20.8||$ 134,789|
|MSA||MSA Safety||50||1.1||66.3||5.4||61.9||$ 6,238|
|NFG||National Fuel Gas||51||3.5||195.6||2.5||57.6||$ 4,737|
|NWN||Northwest Natural Hldg||65||3.6||66.3||1.0||20.1||$ 1,638|
|PG||Procter & Gamble||65||2.4||56.2||5.2||25.9||$ 346,232|
|PH||Parker Hannifin||65||1.4||29.5||10.8||25.5||$ 38,746|
|PPG||PPG Industries||50||1.5||33.7||6.6||25.6||$ 38,676|
|SJW||SJW Gr||54||1.9||60.6||7.0||32.8||$ 2,111|
|SWK||Stanley Black & Decker||54||1.6||24.7||5.5||17.6||$ 31,981|
Dividend Calendar for the Dividend Kings 2021
Div. Record Date
Dividend Payment Date
Next Div. Payment Per Share
Annual Dividend Per Share
|AWR||American States Water||8/13/21||8/16/21||9/1/21||$0.37||$1.46|
|CWT||California Water Service||8/6/21||8/9/21||8/20/21||$0.23||$0.92|
|FRT||Federal Realty Investment||6/21/21||6/22/21||7/15/21||$1.06||$4.24|
|ITW||Illinois Tool Works||6/29/21||6/30/21||7/15/21||$1.14||$4.56|
|JNJ||Johnson & Johnson||8/23/21||8/24/21||9/7/21||$1.06||$4.24|
|LEG||Leggett & Platt||6/14/21||6/15/21||7/15/21||$0.42||$1.68|
|NFG||National Fuel Gas||6/29/21||6/30/21||7/15/21||$0.46||$1.82|
|NWN||Northwest Natural Hldg||7/29/21||7/30/21||8/13/21||$0.48||$1.92|
|PG||Procter & Gamble||7/22/21||7/23/21||8/16/21||$0.87||$3.48|
|SWK||Stanley Black & Decker||9/3/21||9/7/21||9/21/21||$0.79||$3.16|
Prior Year Lists and Articles
Here are my recommendations:
If you are unsure on how to invest in dividend stocks or are just getting started with dividend investing. Take a look at my Review of the Simply Investing Report. I also provide a Review of the Simply Investing Course. Note that I an affiliate of Simply Investing.
If you are interested in an excellent resource for DIY dividend growth investors. I suggest reading my Review of The Sure Dividend Newsletter. Note that I am an affiliate of Sure Dividend.
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