U.S. Dividends Paid and Personal Dividend Income 1946-2010

This data is from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Affairs, National Income and Product Accounts.  It includes both private and public businesses, and the effect of payments of dividends out of the U.S. to foreign parents, and the payment into the U.S. by foreign divisions or subsidiaries of U.S. companies.

Except for the 2009 crash period dividends have been a fairly reliable source of income — highly variable growth, but generally positive in most years.  In any event, they have been more reliable than price returns, which is important to those in the harvest years, when they rely on their portfolios to support lifestyle

The large decline in dividends in 2009 is primarily due to the suspension of dividends by financial enterprises, which had been a major part of overall dividends up to that time.

Over the 65 years of this review, dividends declined in 7 years.

The median annual change in dividend paid over 65 years was 7.48%, and the average was 8.40%.

We are proponents of dividend income as a key part of total return, and are biased toward companies that share corporate profits with their owners, not just their executives and directors. We publish a monthly subscription letter about dividend stocks at www.RationalRisk.com. See a free sample report there.

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