Dividend aristocrats are companies that have paid investors an increasing dividend every year for at least 25 years. The list, drafted by Standard & Poor's, included AT&T, Coca-Cola and McDonald's for 2014. Many dividend aristocrat companies have paid increased dividends to their investors for several decades, Nasdaq notes.
Dividend aristocrats include companies that provide services that consumers need even during a recession, such as utility companies, including Consolidated Edison, and energy providers such as Chevron. Because these products and services are necessary, the companies tend to perform well even when the stock market falters, giving investors some protection against loss, CNBC explains.