This Top Dividend Stock Just Raised Its Payouts by 8.9%

Companies that have impressive dividend streaks don't often raise their payouts by significant amounts. After all, even a one-cent increase will be enough to keep a streak going. That's what makes American States Water Company (NYSE:AWR) so special. Last month, it announced an 8.9% increase to its quarterly dividend. Not only is that an incredibly high rate of increase, but it also marks the 68th straight annual increase the company has made to its dividend. American States Water has been paying a dividend since 1931.

With the increase, the annualized dividend rate is $1.59 per share, which equates to a yield of around 1.8%. That's slightly higher than the S&P 500 average of 1.6%. However, the real benefit is in owning the stock for the long haul. If the company were to keep raising its dividend payments at about 9% per year, then it would take just eight years for the dividend to double in value.

The utility company makes for a stable investment that has been around for nearly 100 years (founded in 1929). CEO Robert J. Sprowls says that the rate hike, "reflects our Board’s continued confidence in the company’s long-term, sustainable earnings growth."

American States Water has proven to be a fairly reliable stock to hold as its share price down a modest 4% over the past year (the S&P is down 6% during that time frame). The business has consistently reported a profit over the years and over the trailing 12 months, its net margin has been a strong 17% of revenue.