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This Dividend Growth Beast Just Raised Its Payouts Again

If you're a long-term dividend investor, one stock that you'll want to consider buying and holding is American States Water Company (NYSE:AWR). The water and electric utility company has a strong track record for paying and increasing dividends.

The company announced this month that its Board of Directors authorized yet another increase to its cash dividend. At $1.72 per share each year, it's an 8.2% hike over what the company was paying before. The company has raised its payouts for an impressive 69 consecutive years.

With the increase, the stock is now yielding around 2%, which is higher than the S&P 500 average of 1.5%. Although there are higher-yielding stocks that investors can choose from, the benefit for long-term investors is that with the company's strong financials, the dividend hikes could continue coming. At around 60% of earnings, American States Water has a relatively low payout ratio, which means that even amid all these rate hikes, the dividend is safe.

Over the past five years, the company dividend has risen at a compounded annual growth rate of 9.4%. Not only is American States Water consistently raising its dividend, but it's doing so at a remarkably high rate, demonstrating a strong confidence in its ability to pay a high, growing dividend.

In 10 years, American States Water' stock has risen 166%. And when including the dividend, its total returns are up around 224%. That means a $30,000 investment in the stock a decade ago would now be worth close to $100,000, when factoring in the growing dividend. Investors could expect to earn similar returns over the next 10 years as this remains a fantastic income stock to own for the long haul.