Daylight Saving Time 2019: When Does the Time Change?

See When DST Starts and Ends, Plus The History of DST

March 1, 2019
daylight-saving-time-clock

When does Daylight Saving Time 2019 begin and end? Find dates here—as well as the history of Daylight Saving Time, which highlights the seemingly endless debate about saving daylight and changing our clocks.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac (around since the beginning of time or, at least, Benjamin Franklin’s day) answers your frequent questions …

What Is Daylight Saving Time?

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is the practice of moving the clocks forward one hour from Standard Time for 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.

Note that the term is “Daylight Saving Time” and not “Daylight Savings Time” with an “s” at the end of “Saving.” (The word “saving” is singular because it acts as part of an adjective rather than a verb.)

When Is Daylight Saving Time in 2019?

To remember which way to set their clocks, folks often use the expression, “Spring forward, fall back.”

DST begins on Sunday, March 10, 2019, at 2:00 A.M. Remember to “spring forward” in the spring and set your clocks forward one hour (i.e., losing one hour). 

DST ends on Sunday, November 3, 2019, at 2:00 A.M. At this time, we “fall back” in the fall by setting clocks back one hour (i.e., gaining one hour).

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

    Daylight Saving Time Dates

    (The exceptions to DST are Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.)

    Year Daylight Saving Time Begins Daylight Saving Time Ends
    2019 Sunday, March 10 at 2:00 A.M. Sunday, November 3 at 2:00 A.M.
    2020 Sunday, March 8 at 2:00 A.M. Sunday, November 1 at 2:00 A.M.
    2021 Sunday, March 14 at 2:00 A.M. Sunday, November 7 at 2:00 A.M.

    The History of Daylight Saving Time

    Does changing the clocks really provide benefits? We’ll let you be the judge. 

    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. Still, some resistance remained:

    • In 1997, a bill was introduced to end Daylight Saving Time in Nevada.
    • In 2001, the California legislature requested that its state be allowed to enact Daylight Saving Time year-round in order to eliminate rolling blackouts caused by the electricity crisis in that state.

    Neither of these proposed changes came to pass.

    Daylight Saving Time Today

    The current daylight saving period was established with the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which went into effect in 2007. As a result, most Americans now 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.).

    However, even today, farmers’ organizations lobby Congress against the practice, preferring early daylight to dry 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. 

    Calculate your local sunrise and sunset times!

    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!

    2020 Almanac Calendar Club

    Reader Comments

    Leave a Comment

    year round standard time

    That’s cool you live in Arizona Sedona is beautiful. I’ve been. When I was there in Arizona I wasn’t tired but you guys are on standard time all year around. I wish they would do that here.

    Arizona Time!

    Glad I live in Arizona, never have to change our clock!

    Daylight savings time

    I feel that if we’re going to keep it then we need to reverse it and give us the extra hour of daylight in the fall and winter months when we need it the most since the days are shorter anyways. That’s my thoughts and I’m not running for office.

    End Daylight Saving time

    We need to end daylight saving time.

    Dst

    Only be if it's golf courses. If the workday end at 5pm, get dark at 9pm. Then golf only gets 4 hours of business. So lobby to stay open another hour for 10pm

    DST

    The idea of DST is absurd! Cutting a foot off a blanket and sewing it on the top does not make the blanket longer! Congress would do well to focus on things of immense importance, such as, proper care for our veterans and the homeless, ending hunger in the US and keeping their darn hand off the Social Security fund. Which there is no such fund because they moved it to the general fund years ago and then they have the gall to tell us it's going broke!!

    Daylight savings time

    Leave it to the government & politicians to screw up the time. Just stick with Standard time year round instead of messing with the clocks twice a year. So frustrating!

    comment

    Daylight is must saving time potection is nice idea

    DST

    I just want Standard time - I have watched kids being dropped off at a shopping center in the morning for school by parents who work. It is dark out and anyone can snatch those kids because they just sit outside by themselves. It is NOT SAFE. I do not like this back and forth stuff. STANDARD TIME - keep kids safer

    Another Against DST

    Despite the numerous petitions I have seen over the years to end DST, it's as if congress has a special trash can just for DST complaints. I don't care if DST last all year, is removed completely, or set to + or - 30 min.. Just leave my clocks alone!

    Politicians and DST

    Only a politician would really believe that they have the power to mess with the space-time continuum. Pick one or the other, and leave us alone about it!

    DST

    I'm with the folks who say pick one or the other and leave it that way. Around here it stays light until it gets dark, whichever one is fine, just stop changing it twice a year.

    CAN it, instead of "moving time"

    I just bought several cases of "canned sunshine," and I'm going to start opening them INSTEAD of trying to "press button A, then advance Time with button B, then ..." I think "Science" should just STOP now that we have auto clock DVRs; instead of manual digital clock (blinking) VCRs, auto radios, and AA battery wall clocks. I've just bought a scalpel, but I have NO IDEA how to reset my new PaceMaker.

    Leave Time Alone after we go back

    I've only lived in 2 states. One being Hawai'i. They have standard time and life goes on as normal ALL YEAR LONG. You get up, do what you have to do and when you're ready for bed go to sleep. Setting clocks back and forth is ridiculous. Just stay on standard time once we change back the clocks in November. It's time to stop believing that setting the clock ahead 1 whole hour is beneficial. The sun does NOT use a clock!

    Why stop there? There is

    Why stop there? There is something wrong sending kids to school in the dark.

    DST comedy

    If changing the time has you you confused or upset, just forget setting your clocks and read the comments below...you will get a good chuckle!! It's comical to see how everyone interprets the time change and the crazy solutions they come up with. Unbelievable...

    DST

    Our only solution to repeal DST is to start World War 3. By the end of it, either the government will switch us back to standard or all the clocks would have been destroyed in the fallout. Problem solved.

    DST

    I think DST is nonsense. Pick either an hour ahead or behind and then leave it that way, it's just foolish to go about changing the time twice a year.

    DST

    I am with all who want this back and forth nonsence to stop.

    Daylight Saving Time

    In order to give the world a big heads-up, why don't we simply advise (via print, tv, radio, internet, etc.) that the good ol' U.S.of A. will be setting our clocks ahead for the final time on March 10, 2019 (the next scheduled date), and after that we'll be done with this absurd "Daylight Saving Time" tradition! Enough is enough, no more, fini!!!!
    Now, wasn't that easy???!!!!

    DST

    I've lived in several of our United States (Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Kansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Alaska [some of these more than twice]) and I've never cared for DST changes, especially in the Eastern Time Zone. I believe it should be set and kept at Standard Time. I also wished that the Eastern Time be replaced with Central Time, which works better with the human biological clock.

    Time changes

    Having been born and raised in Indiana, my farmer father would not change his watch when the time changed, Therefore, when making arrangements to be or do something at a particular time, the rest of the family had to make sure Daddy knew what the time arrangements were according to his watch. I am one who also wishes they would leave the time change alone.

    DST

    Why can't we just move the clock 30 mins (forward or backwards) be fair and then leave it?

    DST

    Thats just to simple to grasp. There are people who see it that way, to simple. If it makes sense it usually don't make it very far as being accepted by a majority and never gets done or is labeled as ridiculous and moved to the bottom of the list. I'm with you, lets split the difference and leave it alone.

    DST. What's the point?

    Myself, I prefer having the "extra" light in the evenings. Here in Louisiana I don't have to stop outdoor work until almost 9pm. And there would obviously be more light at the end of the day in the winter if it continued all year long.

    Why can't we just stop labeling it DST, and simply change the time zones? If I'm not mistaken, this has been done before? It wouldn't be that difficult to do it again.

    Daylight Saving Time

    If it's so beneficial to move the clock back and forth, thus upsetting the routine of millions of people and critters (like moo cows), a simpler procedure is proposed. Simply carve off the U.S. at the Canadian and Mexican borders, and move that part of the continent eastward the amount of one-half of a a longitude, or time zone. Leave the clocks alone. Problem solved.

    Regarding DST, an apocryphal

    Regarding DST, an apocryphal quote has it thus:

    When told the reason for having DST, an old Indian replied, "Only a white man would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket and sew it to the bottom of a blanket and have a longer blanket."

    Other quotes replace "white man" with "government".

    Daylight Saving Time

    So this Sunday is when you reset your clocks one hour. And if you ever get confused, just remember this handy little saying: When you trip you fall forward, but when you are surprised, you spring back! That will help you always remember which way to move your clock.
    Hope this helps.

    DST

    Dot, you've got it precisely backward! We spring forward and fall back! The time change is very confusing for so many and you just made it even more confusing.
    So, everyone remember, fall back and spring ahead!

    DST

    I wish DST would be discontinued as it a disruption e.g, schedules, feeding schedules for animals and even children. My church has a service on Saturday night from 5 to 6PM. I
    don't drive in the dark and when it gets dark early I'm unable to attend...for safety's sake.

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