Daylight Saving Time 2020: When Does the Time Change?

When Does Daylight Saving Time Begin?

March 5, 2020
daylight-saving-time-clock

Daylight Saving Time starts on the 2nd Sunday in March—that’s Sunday, March 8, 2020! See details about the history of “saving daylight” and why we still observe DST today.

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.”

  • 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

(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!

Reader Comments

Leave a Comment

DST

I agree with Beth. Amen.

DST Change

Just wanted to do a little public service!
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.

I always heard Fall Back and

I always heard Fall Back and Spring Forward, since isn't that what you're supposed to do? :) Or are you just trying to confuse everyone :) Ya had me goin for a second.

dst

It is really fall back and spring forward

Daylight Savings time

As a farmers daughter, a farmers wife and a farm-her I too am not crazy about daylight savings time. I've said for years that whoever came up with the idea didn't have small children or livestock as it doesn't work well with either. My way of dealing with it is I get up at 5:30 during the winter and go to bed at 9:30, lunch is at 11:30 and supper is at 5:30. When daylight savings time comes along I get up at 6:30 and go to bed at 10:30, lunch is at 12:30 and supper is at 6:30. I rotate chores that are flexible from morning to afternoon and back and just move chores that aren't flexible are moved forward or back along with meals, and most of the time the change doesn't effect me much. I used to get up at five but going to bed at nine was often too early as I found myself too tired for evening events that ran later. Also if I don't get to bed close to my regular time I have problems falling asleep.

Daylight Saving Time

Oh people just deal with it. It's only an hour either way.

DST

Exactly......One hour isn't going to change your life. My thoughts are take a nap or just deal with it. These people that do all the complaining obviously don't travel across the country or across the pond.

Only an hour?

Only an hour? Let's see: about 100 million households in the US; I counted 10 clocks in mine, including 2 cars, wrist watches, alarm clocks, & wall clocks but not computers; estimate 5 minutes per clock + time to decide to do it; twice per year, comes to about 200 million hours or 25 million working days per year. Only an hour? Add in lost focus and health impact due to disturbed sleep cycles and, at minimum wage (moving toward $15, now), this comes to on the order of $3 Billion wasted on DST in this country each year. Saving this, in a couple of years we could gift POTUS with his wall with no help from Mexico.

Here we go again

I am not a fan of Daylight Savings Time for one people with certain illnesses have to re-adjust their internal body rhythm to this new time which is some cases have cause serious conditions such as heart attacks. My nephew who is autistic has to go through a re-adjustment every spring because it affects his sleep pattern. Time goes fast enough, why speed it up? Sorry to say, I am not convince this time saves anything. Keep the standard time, the days naturally gets longer in spring and summer.

DST

I totally agree that this needs to come to an end. Why let nature take its course. Me and one of my children has sleeping disorders and the time change makes it even worse. Not only with sleep but anxiety and other natural things it affects. Getting dark at 5:00 pm is not normal. In this century of life I feel it’s time to reconsider DST

Daylight Saving Time

I wish that daylight saving time could remain in place and never go back to "standard" time again. I get a lot more done in my garden and around the house on DST. Adaptation is easy for my family and our pets and chickens. Farmers can adjust accordingly. I live in a rural area filled with farmers,horse stables and poultry keeps. We ALL love the extra evening time.

DST

Oh fer crying out loud, just get up an hour earlier or 2 hours earlier if you really want to get even more done. The number of hours in every day is 24, the number of daylight hours is the same no matter what you call it. The whole DST thing is childish.

Daylight Scam Time

I HATE it. It has no benefit, but to give city workers an extra hour to harass their neighbors. Let us stop it once and for all time. Or, make it effective from Memorial Day (May 30) to Labor Day ( the first Monday in September ). See how long that lasts.

Create double DST

Not only would I keep DST, but for the three months around June 21st, I would add another hour to it. It would have an economic boost as many workers would be able to then do leisure time activities on workdays that now can only be done on weekends. For many on an 8 to 4 or even a 9 to 5 work day, and businesses, the positives would more than the inconveniences and the complaints of a small vocal minority. Ask many about how much they enjoy the long summer evenings with daylight.

DST

I love DST WISH I COULD KEEP IT

DST

I think they should jus leave it DST all year long. then everyone would get acclimatized and stay that way.

DST

Let’s just can the program and have one time yearly, preferably the spring one where after work I can have some daylight.

Daylight Savings Time

We passed an initiative last year to get rid of Daylight Savings Time here in California, and 2 years before that we passed one. Why are they still imposing it on us? We have said "NO". Why doesn't that matter?

STOP THE INSANITY

We don't need DST, go back to standard time. There is no purpose for DST what with stores & other companies running 24 hrs/day. There is no saving of energy & definitely no saving money in the general public's pocketbook. All it does is screw up peoples sleep cycles. War time, which is another name for DST, is mute in this day & age. The enemy strikes any time of day. Wake up people!

DST

I think that for the most part, DST is a good thing. But maybe 8 months of it( March through October) is a tad much. Thats 67% of the year we are ON DST, and only 33% on Standard Time. I think, that living in the North, where the days can be quite short in the winter, DST is a pleasant "counter" to that, where we can go from 4 pm sunsets in December to almost 9 pm in June. So, from that point of view, its a "good deal". Now, for my Southern friends, DST could actually for the most part, be implemented YEAR-ROUND given the fact that your days are not as short in winter( and not as long in summer), and You guys can afford to have that extra hour all of the time. Plus, it fits in with your "MILDER/ WARMER " climate. It wouldnt work all year round in the North. But, having the South on DST all the time and the North on it for 6 or 7 or 8 months would be confusing as well. Bottom line: IMO its a good thing, but maybe reduce it to 6 months a year ON and 6 months OFF. :)

End Daylight Saving Time

This whole thing about Daylight Saving Time is just plain unnatural! To be totally honest with you, it drives me mad! Being that I'm both totally blind and have Autistic Spectrum Disorder, I'm one of those girls who is resistant to change. And, I'm one of those girls who believes that Mother Earth (I don't believe in God, thank you), made our bodies to wake up with the sun, no matter what our clocks might say. Also, think of the poor farmers, whose cows, horses, pigs, sheep, chickens, and so on, are confused by the semi-annual madness of Spring Forward, Fall Back. Like me, the farmers and their animals don't care what time the clocks say, they wake up with the sun! I mean, in the spring and summer, I hear a rooster crow outside my window from the house behind my apartment building at 5:00 AM! Despite the fact that a law in Eugene, Oregon says that residents aren't allowed to have roosters in the city limits. Hens are OK, but roosters can get you in trouble! That is, unless of course you're a farmer. But then again, farms are usually out in the countryside. For me, this whole Daylight Saving Time is hard on me because it messes with my natural sleep patterns. It seems the only way I can adjust to Spring Forward is to go to bed at 9:00 when I usually go to bed at 10:00, and wake up at 4:23 when I usually wake up at 5:23. Another thing that drives me mad is I have to set my analog clocks an hour forward, because when Spring Forward begins, I'm an hour behind! When my alarm clock says 5:23, my computer's clock, which is on a satellite time server, automatically says 6:23! Even worse, I end up passing out in the afternoon when I want to stay awake. Then I end up staying awake for an hour and go to bed at 11:00 PM, when I usually go to bed at my regular time of 10:00 PM. Why can't we all just agree to stay on Standard Time? November 4, 2018 was the first night I slept well in 8 months! In 2015, I wrote a letter to all three senators in Oregon, and I got an answer saying that sure, Oregon can come off Daylight Saving Time, but it won't happen until 2021! That's ridiculous! Grrr it makes me grouchy in the mornings when we spring forward! I say stop it, and I say stop it now! I've got an idea. Why don't we all band together and make a movement to abolish this ridiculous, antiquated practice that is Daylight Saving time. Or, if we can't get rid of it altogether, let's make a plan to Spring Forward an hour for the three months of spring from March 20 to June 21, then go back an hour in the summertime, since the days are already longer in those months.

End daylight savings time and keep standard time

I agree daylight savings makes me tired. I think we should be on standard time all year. I have a sleep disorder and I’m on the autistic spectrum.

Daylight Saving Time

Dump Standard Time -- keep Daylight Saving Time.

Daylight Saving Time

I agree.

complainers

it is only twice a year ... When will everybody just quite complaining about simple things.. It is a tradition... It has been around for centuries.. Why should we stop something that was started in the past?? Oh that's right we must progress in the future... right?? that doesn't seem to be going so good.. All you have to do is change the time once in spring and once in fall .. Stop being lazy and do it...

DST

Great logic!! Its always been that way--so it must be right!! Please, educate me on the reasons we need to change what nature has given us since the beginning of "time"--that's even longer than what you sight!!

Centuries?

Dear sweet ignorant Amy, subtract 1908 from 2018 and tell us how many "centuries" are in that answer.
Is math and history hard for you dear?

Arizona Time!

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

Only the following areas do

Only the following areas do not change their clocks:

Hawaii
Arizona (some exceptions)
American Samoa
Guam
Puerto Rico
Northern Marina Islands
US Minor Outlying Islands
US Virgin Islands

Northern Indiana doesn't change their time either

My cousin lives by Fort Wayne, Indiana and they do not change their time either.

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