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

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.

Keep Daylight Savings Time

It takes MONTHS for you to get used to a 1 hour change in the clock???
How do you manage to wear shoes or wash yourself? It's moving a clock one hour twice a year.
In Michigan we have 9 hours of sunlight of day in December and over 15 hours of sunlight in June. Yet the start time of work or church or other functions don't change. It makes sense to adjust the ever changing hours of daylight to the fixed times of our lives.
Virtually every outdoor Summer activity benefits from having another hour of USEFUL sunlight to enjoy the activity.
Seriously, this is the whiniest group of people I heard in a long time: Previous comments:
"It takes months to adjust" Don't ever fly a couple of time zones away. It might take YEARS for your to recover.
"It creates havoc" Havoc definition - widespread destructive.
"It's barbaric" Barbaric definition - savagely cruel; exceedingly brutal.

The bulk of people commenting here are apparently so incredible fragile that I wonder regarding about the survivability of humanity.
Geesh! The extra hour of USEFUL sunlight after work is worth the barbaric havoc.

Time to end DST

It is my hope that they abolish daylight savings time. It is a hard adjustment for many people affecting their internal clock as well as the kitchen clock. DST is no longer needed and 32 states agree. Please get this changed at the Federal level. Please write to your congressman to get this outdated law changed.

Daylight savings time

Stop daylight savings time

Mono Time

I like late sunsets. Don't really care to call it? Just spring forward and don't look back or turn back.

Daylight savings time

I hate it and I wish the State of Texas would do away with it. It takes me months to get adjusted to it and then when I do it's time to change it back. I hate it I wish they'd do away with it forever and never bring it back. To me it serves no purpose. I agree with the farmers

DST - Not needed

Leave it to a man to think you can get another hour of daylight by sliding time..
We don't need it, it serves no purpose, we will get up when we get up and work when we need to work... Let's just be happy to have the time we have and quit messing with the clock.

Abolish DST (or at least pick one & stick with it!!

I hate springing forward in the Spring. It takes me a few weeks to get it adjusted to it. Falling back in the Fall does not take me as long to adjust. I’m all for sticking to Standard Time, but I would be happy if they would just pick one and stick with it!
As a global society, I believe we are using more energy now than ever. Regardless of what the clock reads, we will either use one more hour of energy in the morning or one more hour trip of energy in the evening.

Daylight Saving Time

I think we should do away with daylight saving time. It creates havoc. It’s my understanding that many people surrounding the change of time are not very alert. Perhaps even there are more accidents statistically.

time

We should pick one time and leave it.
Can we change buy 1/2 hour and leave it ?
We get the same amount of daylight no matter what the
clock says

Daylight Saving Time

Get Rid of the Time Change. NOW
Standard Time would be ideal.

Adopt Standard time ASAP!

I strongly would like the whole country to adopt Standard time. Each state needs to adopt it! Get rid of the so called Daylight Saving Time. It is rubbish.

DST

Mother Nature doesn't care what time is on our clocks... she has her own schedule and during the Fall and Winter she sleeps in late and goes to bed early. FL politicians say we need DST year round for the tourist to be able to play outside longer. Tourist generally aren't on a strict schedule; they typically stay up late and sleep in late. And it doesn't matter if it is dark outside -- the restaurants and theme parks don't close when it gets dark.

JUST LEAVE IT BE, NO DAYLIGHT

JUST LEAVE IT BE, NO DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME PLEASE ,,!!!

JUST LEAVE IT BE, NO DAYLIGHT

JUST LEAVE IT BE, NO DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME PLEASE ,,!!!

JUST LEAVE IT BE, NO DAYLIGHT

JUST LEAVE IT BE, NO DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME PLEASE ,,!!!

JUST LEAVE IT BE, NO DAYLIGHT

JUST LEAVE IT BE, NO DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME PLEASE ,,!!!

JUST LEAVE IT BE, NO DAYLIGHT

JUST LEAVE IT BE, NO DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME PLEASE ,,!!!

DST

Lose this ridiculous practice. Choose one or the other and leave it there!

DST

Lose this ridiculous practice. Choose one or the other and leave it there!

LOSE THIS BS PLAYING WITH TIME!!!

We don't have enough time in the evening as it is!! Whoever started this gd BS needs to be eradicated from history. This CRAP needs to end...NOW!!!
First a year full of Scamdemic, and then lose daylight on NOV. 1?? What a crock. This country is a laughing stock to the world...for now. Hopefully, the coming positive changes include 86ing this ridiculous loss of evening daylight time.

DST

Just as many daylight hours in a day anyway. Keep it the same, whatever it is. Hard on the cows and hard on the people. (but the extra hour of sleep is nice :) )

Let it die. Kill it if you have to.

DST is a lie. Before the time change, I get up in the morning after the sun rises. After, it's pitch black and I have to use electricity just to find my shoes in the dark. It saves nothing and wastes time and energy.

dST

Leave it ...,don’t fall back !!!

Daylight Saving Time

Daylight time has its place. Without it, during the summer months it'd be broad daylight at 4 AM. Better to have that hour of daylight in the evening when most people would especially appreciate it. But they start it too early and end it too late. For years it began in early April and ended in late October. I'd move up the begin and end times by a few weeks. By November, there just isn't enough daylight to make it worthwhile to tinker with the clock. You go to standard time, it's dark by late afternoon; you stay on daylight time, schoolkids and commuters are going to work or school in the dark. Either way, somebody's going to be unhappy. During the winter months, I'd prefer that hour of daylight in the morning--I can handle it getting dark early for a few months.

Ger Rid Of DST!

DST is a concept that has outgrown it's usefulness (if there ever really was one). Let the country live with the light and dark of standard time. It takes me days to adjust, and at the age of 75, I don't need the hassle. Let nature take it's course.

Arizona Daylight Savings Time

Arizona did adopt Daylight Savings Time in 1996. However, as we are at the western edge of the Mountain Time Zone, this meant that the sun did not set until after 9:00 P.M.; and with our heat being well above 100 degrees, the restaurant business, drive in movie business and others were severely impacted. The Arizona legislature repealed the law in 1967. However the Navajo Reservation, which is in New Mexico and Utah as well as Arizona still observes Daylight Time. The Hopi Nation, in the middle of the Navajo Reservation, does not.

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