Daylight Saving Time 2021: When Does the Time Change?

When Does Daylight Saving Time Begin This Year?

March 2, 2021
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Daylight Saving Time begins on Sunday, March 14, 2021, at 2:00 A.M.  On Saturday evening, our clocks need to “spring forward” one hour. See details about the history of “saving daylight” and why we still observe DST today. Plus, let us know what you think!

What Is Daylight Saving Time?

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is the practice of moving the clocks forward one hour from Standard Time during the summer months, and changing them back again in the fall. The general idea is that this allows us all to make better use of natural daylight. However, DST has many detractors—and rightfully so.

When Is Daylight Saving Time This Year? When Does the Time Change?

To remember which way to set their clocks, folks often use the expression, “Spring forward, fall back.” Note that these dates are for locations in the United States and Canada only; other countries may follow different dates.

  • Daylight Saving Time begins on Sunday, March 14, 2021 at 2:00 A.M. On Saturday night, set your clocks forward one hour (i.e., losing one hour) to “spring ahead.”
  • Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, November 7, 2021, at 2:00 A.M. On Saturday night, set your clocks back one hour (i.e., gaining one hour) to “fall back.”

Note: Since the time changes at 2:00 A.M., we generally change our clocks before bed on Saturday.

Daylight Saving Time Dates

Year Daylight Saving Time Begins Daylight Saving Time Ends
2021 Sunday, March 14 at 2:00 A.M. Sunday, November 7 at 2:00 A.M.
2022 Sunday, March 13 at 2:00 A.M. Sunday, November 6 at 2:00 A.M.
2023 Sunday, March 12 at 2:00 A.M. Sunday, November 5 at 2:00 A.M.
2024 Sunday, March 10 at 2:00 A.M. Sunday, November 3 at 2:00 A.M.

Note: In the U.S., exceptions to DST are Arizona (except for the Navajo Nation), Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and American Samoa.

Is it Daylight “Saving” or “Savings” Time?

The correct term is “Daylight Saving Time“ and not “Daylight Savings Time” (with an extra “s”), though many of us are guilty of saying it the wrong way. The technical explanation is that the word “saving” is singular because it acts as part of an adjective rather than a verb.

The History of Daylight Saving Time

Why Did Daylight Saving Time Start? 

Blame Ben? Benjamin Franklin’s “An Economical Project,” written in 1784, is the earliest known proposal to “save” daylight. It was whimsical in tone, advocating laws to compel citizens to rise at the crack of dawn to save the expense of candlelight:

Every morning, as soon as the Sun rises, let all the bells in every church be set ringing: and if that is not sufficient, let cannon be fired in every street to wake the sluggards effectually… . Oblige a man to rise at four in the morning, and it is probable that he will go willingly to bed at eight in the evening.”

DST’s True Founder? 

The first true proponent of Daylight Saving Time was an Englishman named William Willet. A London builder, he conceived the idea while riding his horse early one morning in 1907. He noticed that the shutters of houses were tightly closed even though the Sun had risen. In “The Waste of Daylight,” the manifesto of his personal light-saving campaign, Willet wrote, “Everyone appreciates the long, light evenings. Everyone laments their shrinkage as the days grow shorter; and nearly everyone has given utterance to a regret that the nearly clear, bright light of an early morning during Spring and Summer months is so seldom seen or used… . That so many as 210 hours of daylight are, to all intents and purposes, wasted every year is a defect in our civilization. Let England recognise and remedy it.”

Willet spent a small fortune lobbying businessmen, members of Parliament, and the U.S. Congress to put clocks ahead 20 minutes on each of the four Sundays in April, and reverse the process on consecutive Sundays in September. But his proposal was met mostly with ridicule. One community opposed it on moral grounds, calling the practice the sin of “lying” about true time.

World War I Led to Adoption of DST

Attitudes changed after World War I broke out. The government and citizenry recognized the need to conserve coal used for heating homes. The Germans were the first to officially adopt the light-extending system in 1915, as a fuel-saving measure during World War I. This led to the introduction in 1916 of British Summer Time: From May 21 to October 1, clocks in Britain were put an hour ahead.

The United States followed in 1918, when Congress passed the Standard Time Act, which established the time zones. However, this was amidst great public opposition. A U.S. government Congressional Committee was formed to investigate the benefits of Daylight Saving Time. Many Americans viewed the practice as an absurd attempt to make late sleepers get up early. Others thought that it was unnatural to follow “clock time” instead of “Sun time.” A columnist in the Saturday Evening Post offered this alternative: “Why not ‘save summer’ by having June begin at the end of February?”

WWI-era Daylight Saving Postcard

The matter took on new meaning in April 1917, when President Woodrow Wilson declared war. Suddenly, energy conservation was of paramount importance, and several efforts were launched to enlist public support for changing the clocks. A group called the National Daylight Saving Convention distributed postcards showing Uncle Sam holding a garden hoe and rifle, turning back the hands of a huge pocket watch. Voters were asked to sign and mail to their congressman postcards that declared, “If I have more daylight, I can work longer for my country. We need every hour of light.” Manhattan’s borough president testified to Congress that the extra hour of light would be a boon to home gardening, and therefore increase the Allies’ food supply. Posters chided, “Uncle Sam, your enemies have been up and are at work in the extra hour of daylight—when will YOU wake up?”

With public opinion in its favor, Congress officially declared that all clocks would be moved ahead one hour at 2:00 A.M. on March 31, 1918. (Canada adopted a similar policy later the same year.) Americans were encouraged to turn off their lights and go to bed earlier than they normally did—at around 8:00 P.M.

Farmers Did NOT Favor DST

Many Americans wrongly point to farmers as the driving force behind Daylight Saving Time. In fact, farmers were its strongest opponents and, as a group, stubbornly resisted the change from the beginning.

When the war was over, the farmers and working-class people who had held their tongues began to speak out. They demanded an end to Daylight Saving Time, claiming that it benefited only office workers and the leisure class. The controversy put a spotlight on the growing gap between rural and urban dwellers. As a writer for the Literary Digest put it, “The farmer objects to doing his early chores in the dark merely so that his city brother, who is sound asleep at the time, may enjoy a daylight motor ride at eight in the evening.”

The Daylight Saving Time experiment lasted only until 1920, when the law was repealed due to opposition from dairy farmers (cows don’t pay attention to clocks). No fewer than 28 bills to repeal Daylight Saving Time had been introduced to Congress, and the law was removed from the books. American had tolerated Daylight Saving Time for about seven months.

Daylight Saving WWI-era poster

DST Returns 

The subject did not come up again until after the attack on Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941, and the United States was once again at war.

During World War II, Daylight Saving Time was imposed once again (this time year-round) to save fuel. Clocks were set one hour ahead to save energy.

After the war (which concluded with Japan’s final surrender on September 2, 1945), Daylight Saving Time started being used on and off in different states, beginning and ending on days of their choosing.

Local Differences and Inconsistency

Inconsistent adherence to time zones among the states created considerable confusion with interstate bus and train service. To remedy the situation, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act in 1966, establishing consistent use of Daylight Saving Time within the United States: Clocks were to be set ahead one hour on the last Sunday in April and one hour back on the last Sunday in October.

That was the rule, but some state legislatures took exception via a loophole that had been built into the law. Residents of Hawaii and most of Arizona did not change their clocks. Residents of Indiana, which straddles the Eastern and Central time zones, were sharply divided on Daylight Saving Time: Some counties employed it, some did not.

In 1986, the U.S. Congress approved a bill to increase the period of Daylight Saving Time, moving the start to the first Sunday in April. The goal was to conserve oil used for generating electricity—an estimated 300,000 barrels annually. (In 2005, the entire state of Indiana became the 48th state to observe Daylight Saving Time.)

Daylight Saving Time Today

The current daylight saving period was established with the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which went into effect in 2007.

Today, most Americans spring forward (turn clocks ahead and lose an hour) on the second Sunday in March (at 2:00 A.M.) and fall back (turn clocks back and gain an hour) on the first Sunday in November (at 2:00 A.M.). See how your sunrise and sunset times will change with our Sunrise/set Calculator.

However, farmers’ organizations continue to lobby Congress against the practice, preferring early daylight to tend to their fields and a Standard Time sunset for ending their work at a reasonable hour. Some farmers point out that the Daylight Saving Time is deceptively misnamed. “It is a gimmick that changes the relationship between ‘Sun’ time and ‘clock’ time but saves neither time nor daylight,” says Katherine Dutro, spokesperson for the Indiana Farm Bureau.

Most of Canada is on Daylight Saving Time; only portions of Saskatchewan and small pockets of British Columbia remain on Standard Time year-round. However, the practice has its detractors. In the words of a current-day Canadian poultry producer, “The chickens do not adapt to the changed clock until several weeks have gone by, so the first week of April and the last week of October are very frustrating for us.” Similarly, one Canadian researcher likened an increase in traffic accidents to the onset of Daylight Saving Time. Other experts insist that the extra hour of daylight reduces crime. 

As of March 2020, an impressive 32 states have proposed bills to end the practice of switching clocks. However, the legislation can only go into effect if the federal law changes. The Uniform Time Act would need to be amended to allow such a change. See the latest on which states have passed bills to put a stop to DST changes.

Share your thoughts about DST below—and see readers’ comments from the past. As you can see, our Almanac readers are quite passionate about this topic!

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Reader Comments

Leave a Comment

Time change

I agree leave to standard time instead of daylight savings time because it messes our health and mood and sleepy

Time change re Daylight Saving Time

No one, no matter what title he holds, has the right to change the natural time of the universe, no natter the reason, and it makes no sense to vote on it because Standard time is natural. Sure there are some things about DST we all may prefer, but we have a lot to deal with already, without messing with nature! Some comments here clearly are uninformed of our natural circadian rhythm which is regulated by light and dark including sleep and wakefulness; a line from an article "Your brain receives signals based on your environment and activates certain hormones, alters your body temperature, and regulates your metabolism to keep you alert or draw you to sleep." People who are more environmentally sensitive would be the ones who have trouble during time changes. But in any event, PLEASE LEAVE STANDARD TIME.
Get rid of Daylight saving time, it is unnatural and we should not have to be subjected to this as a law!

DST

Don't call it Daylight Savings Time; Call it Daylight SHIFTING Time. It doesn't save any daylight, it just shifts it from one part of the clock to another. It is very wasteful. It cost millions of dollars every year in time spent shifting clocks, sleep disturbance for most people, increased accidents, and missed appointments. Pick either standard time or DST and leave the clocks there year 'round. Here in Indiana we often call it Daniels Stupid Time because Mitch Daniels was the governor who pushed it through the legislature.

Day light savings

At the next election let the public vote on it. I would vote for standard time year round.

DST... Just get rid of it already! PERMANENTLY! Please!

I say just put each time zone on the "fall back" one hour, schedule. And keep every State, Country, City & Town on that schedule ALL year, EVERY year! And NEVER EVER observe DST AGAIN!!! That way no one will have to deal with the outdated, useless, annoying and aggravating b.s. of changing clock's back and forth two times a flippin year, year after year, after...... blah blah blah... EVER AGAIN!!!
And as for where I stand with any and or all the younger, children, kid(s) of school age and or even collage age. Who have to be picked up via school bus or public transportation, or those that have to walk as well as also stand and wait for the school bus, the public bus or other form of public transportation, in the, dangerous things can or could happen, in the dark, when it's harder to be seen, even by their own bus drivers, while they're simply waiting to go to school....
Those dangerous and absurd bus roughts in the dark or darker parts of the morning and or evening's hours, can and - SHOULD BE - changed, rescheduled to a more sunlight, sight appropriate time, via- that particular States, Congress, Legislators, House of Representatives and or Govoner, etc etc; by making any of the necessary and or needed time changes to any and all of its school's/students, starting and ending time's. As well as to their buses scheduled pick-up and drop off times! So that they are able to better ensure the safety of students who attend their schools be their arrivals be by public transportation, school provided bus, walking, biking or their parent(s) picking them up and dropping them off each day!

Day light sàving time

I really hate the time change and just wish they congress would pass the bill to stay at day light sàving time

Dst

Only the government would cut a foot off of the top of a blanket, sew it on the bottom, and call it longer....

DST

Today, 2021, We wake up to the beautiful time of Year! More hours of Sunshine! People are happier! The Southern States, who Actually produce Fruits and Vegetables, feed the Northern States because of the late sun. We are Healthier with more “Natural,” Vitamin D from the Sun!
KEEP DST AS IT IS TODAY! Our Country Needs It! WE LOVE IT.

End Time change !!Leave it as a summer time!

Is horrible, gloomy and depressing!! I’m from the tropic and I know the difference.

Daylight Saving Time

How about moving clocks up 30 minutes in March and leaving them there? This may avoid the aggravation of these biannual events.

End time change

The time change twice a year not only aggravates but takes a physical toll on many.
I would say go to standard time and leave it alone.

School bus pick up of children in the dark, in the middle of win

I am a school bus driver that disagrees with the Bill in Congress to change the clocks permanently to daylight saving Time. At this time of the year, in wisconsin, I'm finally able to see my high schoolers at their corner bus stops. In the middle of winter, when it's dark, and they have to stand on a corner...I fear for their lives. Permanently having the clock at daylight saving time means that in the winter time the sun will come up even later. For a lot of the fall and the winter it's even hard to see my middle schoolers out there waiting for the bus. They might get picked up later but it's still quite dark at their pickup time. It's hard enough to get a lot of kids up early and off to school. Can you imagine the psychological and physiological effect that the lack of light would have on trying to get these kids up early? In Wisconsin, in winter, the sun wouldn't even come up till about 8:23 a.m. in the morning in the deepest part of winter. Which means it would be dark through almost all of my three morning routes. High school, middle school, and elementary.

Don’t Mess With Mother Nature

Changing clocks does nothing to the earth or the sun. All it does is get us up an hour earlier. We can do that without messing with our clocks ... or other people’s schedules.

Midnight comes in the middle of the night. No matter how we set the clocks. If we set the clock ahead, it just says 1:00 when it’s midnight instead of 12:00. That’s just confusing. Should the clock say 12:00 or 1:00 at midday? If it’s the latter, phrases like “12:00 noon” become ridiculous. The question has never been whether we should change time itself (we can’t), just whether we want to get up earlier when the days are longer ... which we can do anyway.

Let this be the last time!!

LET THIS BE THE LAST TIME!!! Who are we to keep changing the clocks? It benefits no one. Why can't we just leave it alone. Think of all the schedules that won't have to be adjusted!

DST

On the longest day of this year dst should “ fall back” half an hour - 30 minutes then leave it alone from then on. Stop this useless messing with time.

DST

As with so many other things humans think they have the right to meddle with, "time" is one of the more questionable topics. Changing the clocks does no one any good, in the long run. Our circadian rhythms become imbalanced, creating needless stress on the body and mind, and potentially creating health problems. It is in our best interest to work WITH Nature, not against Her. As the old Indian saying goes, "Only the white man would cut off the bottom of a blanket, sew it to the top of the blanket and call it 'longer'." Asinine.

DST

Personally, I love the DST. I like getting out of work at 5PM and still have hours to do things in the sunlight. A comment left by Frank made sense to me. "Split the difference". Change it to a half an hour and leave it at that all year long. Life IS about compromising isn't it???

Daylight savings time

Need to leave it one way or the other. No need to change it.

Get Rid of It

I live in Indiana, and in the summer with DST, it doesn't get dark until 10pm. It makes it hard to go to bed when you need to...especially when I start work by 7am. Standard time works just fine.

Does it really matter? Our

Does it really matter? Our country is in turmoil and people complain about DST..get a grip!
It stays hot and sunny a little after 8:00 p.m. where I live, it stinks but I deal. There are people who are stuck inside during the day and appreciate the extra Vitamin D they get after work. In a perfect world everyone gets what they want!

DST

End it,the sooner the better

dst

It is stupid, and expensive. Time lost in rescheduling meetings, appointments, trying to do work in the dark, trying not to run over people jogging, walking, because they don't have the sense to wear reflective clothing. Or won't spend the money on it. Just pick a time and stay with it already!

Abolish this outdated practice

It may have served its purpose previously but now it's just DUMB.

Jump ahead half hour in the spring

I say split the difference and spring ahead half hour and leave it there as the new standard time year-round. You’ll never have to change the time again. And everybody will get the benefit from a half hour shift.

DST no longer makes sense in modern society.

This practice no longer saves energy as congress claimed when they moved the dates a few years ago. In modern urban society our lights and heat are on at all hours. The time we are in "standard" is so short, why change back and forth? Just stay in one. If you want more daylight for an event, change the event time, and not for the 300 million who are not at your event

PREFER LONGER DAYS

I am one that likes that it gets darker later during DST. It gives you more time to do things outside. Yes, it takes a little while to get used to losing 1 hour of sleep, but sometimes that happens anyway. I feel we should keep DST.

We lose more in missed appointments due to this confusion

Stop daylight savings time. What's moving the clock forward? What's backward? The second Sunday or the first Sunday is just confusing. Stating the effort of trying to save energy while keep using more technical products that rely on energy is just pretentious.

Daylight Savings and is a Thumbs Down

There are enough things to adjust to in our very busy and complicated lives. Stop messing with our sleep. It takes months to adjust to the loss of that one hour. And there is no good reason for it anymore. Bye-bye DLS.

Absolutely Hate Daylight Savings

Who wants to watch the sunset at almost 900pm in June?
To make matters worse, it’s dark in the early morning. I’ve almost run over kids on their way to school at 700am while it’s still dark in March.
The whole thing is out of whack.
I can’t understand why it’s allowed to continue when clearly most citizens are against it. And for good reason....

Daylight saving time

This practice should be abolished.

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