Does the S&P 500 Index Include Dividends?

The S&P 500 Index is a well-liked benchmark index of large-cap shares within the U.S. The S&P 500 Index is a value index, which means it represents the inventory costs of the businesses inside the index. Some shares are weighted extra closely than others, which implies they’ve a better affect on the worth of the S&P.

Key Takeaways

  • The S&P 500 is a market-cap-weighted index of huge U.S. shares.
  • The worth of the S&P 500 index just isn’t a complete return index, which means it would not embody the positive factors earned from money dividends paid by corporations to their shareholders.
  • Many corporations within the S&P pay dividends—buyers ought to issue these money funds into their total funding return.

How the S&P 500 Index Is Valued

The general value of the S&P 500 is influenced by a number of elements, together with the variety of inventory shares excellent for every firm and the corporate’s share value. In different phrases, the index tracks the market capitalization of the businesses inside the index.

Market cap is the results of multiplying the variety of an organization’s shares excellent by its inventory value. Because of this, corporations with increased market caps have extra of an affect on the worth of the S&P than corporations with smaller market caps.

Nevertheless, the worth of the S&P 500 index just isn’t a complete return index, which means it would not embody the positive factors earned from money dividends paid by corporations to their shareholders. Since many corporations within the S&P pay dividends, buyers ought to issue these money funds into their total funding return. There are complete return indexes that observe capital positive factors (inventory value will increase) in addition to dividends. The S&P 500 Whole Return Index (SPTR) is one such index.

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The S&P 500 makes use of an index divisor that scales the index all the way down to a extra manageable and reportable degree. The divisor is a proprietary worth that may change with inventory splits, spinoffs, and different variables that might have an effect on the index’s worth. Different related indexes embody the Dow Jones Industrial Common and the Russell 2000 Index.

Dividend Yield of the S&P 500

As of Sept. 30, 2022, the dividend yield for the S&P 500 was 1.62%. The file excessive for dividend yields was in 1932 at 13.84%.

The dividend yield for the S&P 500 is calculated by discovering the weighted common of every listed firm’s most lately reported full-year dividend, then dividing by the present share value. Yields are revealed and calculated each day by Normal & Poor’s and different monetary media.

Historical past of S&P 500 Dividends

Throughout the 90 years between 1871 and 1960, the S&P 500 annual dividend yield by no means fell beneath 3%. Annual dividends reached above 5% throughout 45 separate years over the interval.

Within the first half of the twentieth century, dividends tended to develop at an identical price because the inventory market. This relationship decisively modified within the Nineteen Sixties, as inventory market positive factors didn’t essentially translate into rising dividends on the identical price.


The bottom dividend yield of the S&P 500, which was in August 2000.

Of the 30 years after 1960, solely 5 noticed yields beneath 3%. Within the bull market of the Eighties, this relationship diverged additional when dividend yields fell dramatically as dividends stayed flat and the broader market moved increased.

The sharp change within the S&P 500 dividend yield traces again to the early to mid-Nineteen Nineties. For instance, the typical dividend yield between 1970 and 1990 was 4.03%. It declined to 1.95% between 1991 and 2007. After a quick climb to three.11% in the course of the peak of the Nice Recession of 2008, the annual S&P 500 dividend yield averaged simply 1.99% between 2009 and 2015.

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Causes for Decrease Dividend Yields

Two main adjustments are thought to have contributed to the collapse of dividend yields. The primary was Alan Greenspan changing into chair of the Federal Reserve in 1987, a place he held till 2006. Greenspan responded to market downturns in 1987, 1991, and 2000 with sharp drops in rates of interest, which drove down the fairness threat premium on shares and flooded asset markets with low-cost cash.

Costs began climbing a lot sooner than dividends. Regardless of proof that these insurance policies contributed to the housing and monetary bubbles on the time, Greenspan’s successors successfully doubled down on his insurance policies.

Rise of Web Corporations

The second main change was the rise of Web-based corporations in the USA, particularly following Netscape’s preliminary public providing (IPO) in 1995. Know-how shares proved to be quintessential development gamers and sometimes produced little or no dividends. Common dividends declined as the dimensions of the tech sector grew.

A part of the explanation for this variation in perspective towards dividends has been the decreased inflationary pressures and decrease rates of interest, lowering stress on firms to compete with the risk-free price of return.

Low-interest charges even make low dividends enticing, and high-interest charges could make even excessive dividends unappealing. For instance, in 1982, the dividend price was 4.93% for the S&P 500, however the rate of interest on the 10-year Treasury was round 14%. As of Sept. 30, 2022, the dividend yield for the S&P 500 is 1.62%, whereas as of Oct. 21, 2022, the yield on the 10-year Treasury is 4.24%.

There may be far more demand for dividend shares in the sort of atmosphere. One of many outcomes of central financial institution coverage in increasing the cash provide by way of low-interest charges and quantitative easing is making dividend shares extra enticing. Dividends have been decrease over time as a result of many corporations elect to return money to shareholders within the type of inventory buybacks, somewhat than dividends, as this system receives extra favorable tax remedy.

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The S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats

The S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats Index is an inventory of corporations within the S&P 500 with a observe file of accelerating dividends for no less than 25 consecutive years. It tracks the efficiency of well-known, primarily large-cap, blue-chip corporations. Normal & Poor’s will take away corporations from the index once they fail to extend dividend funds from the earlier 12 months. The sub-index is rebalanced yearly in January.

Does the S&P 500 Index Pay Dividends?

The S&P 500 Index itself is simply an index that buyers aren’t in a position to spend money on. The Index doesn’t embody the dividends paid to shareholders in its returns. To spend money on the Index itself, buyers should spend money on funds that observe it. These funds do pay the dividends that the businesses pay their shareholders.

What Is the Common Dividend for the S&P 500?

As of Oct. 21, 2022, the present dividend yield for the S&P 500 is 1.74%. The median dividend yield is 4.23%.

How A lot of the S&P 500 Return Is Dividends?

Since 1926, dividends make up roughly 32% of the returns of the S&P 500, whereas appreciation makes up the remaining 68%. From these numbers, it’s clear that dividends make up a good portion of returns and are an vital think about valuing inventory selections.

The Backside Line

The S&P 500 Index tracks the five hundred largest corporations within the U.S. by market cap. It’s a value index, not a complete return index, which means it doesn’t think about money dividends paid to the shareholders of these corporations. Buyers would want to think about dividends when analyzing the Index for complete returns.

Because the S&P 500 is an index, buyers can not make investments instantly in it, however somewhat need to spend money on funds that observe the index. When investing in these funds, buyers do obtain the money dividends from the businesses.