Daylight Saving Time 2020: When Does the Time Change?

When Does Daylight Saving Time End This Year?

October 21, 2020
daylight-saving-time-clock

Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, November 1, 2020, at 2:00 A.M.  On Saturday evening, our clocks need to “fall back” one hour. See details about the history of “saving daylight” and why we still observe DST today. And 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 in 2020? 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 8, 2020 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 1, 2020, 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 2020 and Beyond

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

Year Daylight Saving Time Begins Daylight Saving Time Ends
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.
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.

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, 39 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

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I like DST ...as you get more

I like DST ...as you get more sunshine after working hours...i wish they kept it thru winter. A lot of people get mild to moderatle de pression from fewer light hours in winter. Life is not so hard to change a clock. twicw a year now.

it can only work when the

it can only work when the northern hemisphere is closest to the sun. If it stayed the same year round our sunlight would be early in the morning before anybody was out of bed.

If you want to go by sun

If you want to go by sun time, then eliminate time zones which do not follow the sun. That would mean that correct time would change whenever you moved to a new place other than true north or south of where you started. But you would still change time in respect to day or night which changes whenever you travel north or south. You would also have the seasons changing as you went north or south. I think I will keep the present system.

There is no different season

There is no different season for north south east west. An far as time zones r u eduacated. Any were in the us when the sun sets directlt above ur head it is noon apparently uv growed up with modern civilization which i grew up living with lat 1800 early 1900. North south east west different seasons my god man no matter were u r. Fall will arrive all over watcj the trees animals grass insects or ur not from a place u have to know it to survive

The question is are YOU educates

If you travel from New York City to Sydney Australia in December you will go from winter to summer. From freezing temperatures to upper 90s and maybe even 100s. You obviously have no clue how seasons and hemispheres work. Go back to school and leave the conversation to tje adults.

Standard or DS time, the

Standard or DS time, the system we use of 24 hours of equal length is from Babylon and nothing good ever came from Babylon...

The Jewish system divided the day by the position of the sun, hence mid-day always being when the sun is overhead and midnight halfway through the night. Sunset began the day and ended it. This is the pattern of nature, and of God, if you will...

Such a pattern, implemented today would give shortened hours during the winter, and longer hours during the summer, with daytime and nighttime hours most nearly equal at the equinoxes, but work times proportional to the days length, year round. The effect would be to have longer work days in the summer and shorter in the winter; this is cow-time...

With modern electronics, clocks could be made to accurately make the constant changes, or eliminated in favor of the sun-dial... For scientific purposes the ideal second could be retained for precision measurement, but that kind of precision doesn't really fit our life rhythms; that's why we are so screwed up, forced into cycles that are unnatural, Babylonian.

I expect that near 100% will object to the implementation of this system, but it is essentially the system we will all revert to, if ever the SHTF.

I understand and appreciate

I understand and appreciate all of the arguments against DST, but I like it. I can't sleep well after sun rise, and though retired now, I used to enjoy the extra daylight after work to get outside. For those people with 9to5 jobs, extra daylight after work for outside sports activities is a big deal.

Back in the 70's, Richard Nixon kept the nation, as I remember, on DST all year. The main complaint was that children were forced to wait for the morning bus in the dark, which was believed to be not as safe. We went back to ST during the winter.

NO, I don't like DST. An

NO, I don't like DST. An unnecessary inconvenience.

Since daylight saving time is

Since daylight saving time is roughly 7 to 8 months long, hasn't it become the new "standard" time? And why aren't the start and stop times equi-distant from the solstice? We change the clocks 6 to 7 weeks before the winter solstice but don't change them back until 10 to 11 weeks after the winter solstice. Maybe we should just split the difference by changing the clocks a half hour and be done with it.

I think it's useless. It does

I think it's useless. It does not change the amount of daylight or dark.

I agree with most of the

I agree with most of the comments I've read. I think we really need to stop messing with our internal clocks. It's kinda like having jet lag when traveling across time zones. It takes a few weeks to get adjusted to the new time ESP when the time springs forward. Let's just keep the time alone on Standard Time. It is easier to adjust your schedule according to the amount of sunlight than it is to change our clocks. Businesses could adjust their hours too. I have visited Arizona in the Summertime and it did seem strange how early the sun came up and how early the sun went down. But if they can do it so can we. Think we would all be better for it.

So i was curious if anyone

So i was curious if anyone knew if day light savings time actually feel on the full moon' or the equinox …originally. and for convenience we changed it

What happened to stopping DST

What happened to stopping DST ...I thought there was talk of doing away with it?

I think DST is silly and

I think DST is silly and outdated - compare with Volunteer Fire Department sirens - just annoying -- everyone needs to let go of this outdated technology and move into the computer age !

We don't do DST in South

We don't do DST in South Korea and it seems much more civilized. Stay with natural cycles. Although, the time zones are very arbitrary!

One additional thing to

One additional thing to remember: Change the batteries in your smoke detectors when you change your clocks.

I wish DST was shorter like

I wish DST was shorter like it was a few years ago. Mexico changed last Sunday Oct 28. I wonder what it is like to live near Arizona but have to travel there regularly for work.

I do not like DST and never

I do not like DST and never have. It's just one more example of government intrusion where it is not needed. I like the analogy of the blanket by Mr. Myren above.

n/a

n/a

" It's not nice to fool

" It's not nice to fool Mother Nature "

Do away w/DST - the cows

Do away w/DST - the cows won't mind and the dairymen would enjoy the early daylight. Kids would be safer going to school w/daylight and megabucks would be saved in manhours resetting clocks twice a year - not only household clocks but municipal (town) clocks. Electriciity would be saved by earlier daylight in the morning hours. Bottom line DLS is outdated.

I could not agree with you

I could not agree with you more, DST is such a waste of time. Why can't we just leave the clocks alone?

That's all you know about it.

That's all you know about it. Cows most definately mind. You ever had a dairy or had milk cows?? I have and oh yes believe me they do mind. Very much. DLS cause health issues and stress all for a few to pretend they are not getting up early all for a big fat lie.

I use the extra hour to set

I use the extra hour to set the 10 clocks in my home. Then in the Spring, I try to figure out where am I going to find the TIME to re-set them, and by the time I accomplish that, it's time to re-re-set them. Results?: 10 clocks, all out of sync.

I sure like the "longer"

I sure like the "longer" evening in the summer. Why would I want it to get light at 4:30 am in the summer?

Extra Hour? Change your work

Extra Hour?
Change your work times, go in an hour earlier. Imagine the howling if all employers told their employees to show up an hour earlier. As for the wedding, way to go, give the drunks an extra hour to get drunker before hitting the road.

She said an extra hour ... IN

She said an extra hour ... IN THE EVENING.

Here in Puerto Rico, we don't

Here in Puerto Rico, we don't observe Daylight Savings Time, but it is a real pain for me that you all do. Because I work in radio, and we receive lots of satellite programming from partners in the States, we have to adjust our clocks to suit yours twice per year. This means we have to stay up till 2 a.m. (our time) to watch while the clocks change and then monitor the rest of the night to be sure everything recorded properly. And since what is out of sight is out of mind, every year there is a scramble to find out which way your clocks are moving - and when! Many times we have messed it up and then have the wrong programs on the next day. :(

Spring Forward Fall Back

Spring Forward

Fall Back

Just do the changing before

Just do the changing before retiring for the night lol. You do NOT have to sit up & wait.

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