Daylight Saving Time 2020: When Does the Time Change?

When Does Daylight Saving Time End This Year?

October 21, 2020
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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

Leave a Comment

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.

Daylight Savings Time

I believe we should go back to standard time all year long. I have heard some moms say that they feel the DST is best for school children since they catch a bus. The children in my neighborhood get picked up at their front door at 7:30. Even if it were a little dark outside, they can stand on their front porch with the light on! I do not like changing my clock twice a year for no good reason- it only causes people to feel as though they have jet lag and serves no real purpose.

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.

DST

I, too, dislike DST. We save nothing, mess up our inner 'clocks', mess with nature and on the whole do nothing good. Wish we would stay on real sun time!!!!!

day light savings

Why don't they leave the clocks alone as is people don't get the sleep they need causes accidents week after change and health problems FARMERS HAVE CLOCKS NOW DON'T REPLY ON DAY LIGHT

Farmers DO rely on daylight

Did you ever go out in the pitch dark and try to get cows up to milk? They look at you like you're crazy and refuse to get up. (A dog forces them to get up.). My roosters start crowing at 4:15 in the summer BUT the chickens are all still on the roost and don't come down until daylight. They don't see well in the dark and being on a roost is much safer for them.

Daylight Savings Time

I never change my clocks, haven't for years, it is so silly. I let nature set the rules and follow her lead and things work out just fine. Changing clocks messes with your body and its time clock, just follow nature instead.

DST

I HATE DST.
My boss wants DST so he can golf later.............go figure

Keep one or the other but stop the changing

The changing is especially hard on the very old and the very young. There are more accidents the week after and more heart attacks. I suggest picking one (ideally, the one most natural to the sun) and sticking with it.

Not true

There is no proof that there are more accidents and heart attacks due to DST changes. Somebody made that up years ago and journalists keep repeating the same drivel twice a year.

Study shows DST causes spike in heart attacks, strokes, crashes

Yes, DST does cause health issues and deaths, see businessinsider.com/daylight-saving-time-is-deadly-2018-3 from March 11, 2018.

DST

LOVE DST! I have to get up well before dawn to be in the hospital by 6:45 with my nursing students, many of whom drive an hour (sleepy) in the dark to get there on time. WE're inside most of the day, and it's lovely to have the extra light when we get out after 12 hour shifts. Keep DST! Those of us who work in the hospital look forward to it every year.

DST

DST doesn't do anything but cause confusion with our biological clocks. The livestock still want to be tended to at the same time whether the sun is up or not, the people who drive sleepy will still do it because of not going to bed early, and when I worked in the hospital, the number of accidents increased due to the darkness. The facts are that during the summer, that "one hour" cause the electricity bills to go up because of the air conditioning used. It is blooming hot in the evenings during the summer!

DST

Not really, Ann. If I go out in the dark and try to milk, the cows are still bedded down and don't want to get up yet. In the summer they get up before dawn to graze while it's cool but in the winter they stay bedded down until the sun comes up and the frost starts melting. Did you ever try to get a cow up that didn't want to get up??

DST- time change

I agree - I too work in a medical office and coming to work in the dark and going home in the dark for MONTHS makes me begin to feel like a mole --:)

Daylight Saving Time

This is absolutely the stupidest idea ever created! If people want “more daylight” at the end of a work day, STOP making the rest of us change our clocks and change YOUR work hours! Go to work an hour earlier and leave an hour earlier! My body is NOT fooled one but the entire duration of the enforced time lie because my body follows the sun time as nature intended! Leave time alone!

DST

DST is a ridiculous fantasy that benefits only those who work a 9 - 5 office job. I have the right to say that because I worked that schedule for 40 years and I still considered it stupid. If the only objective is to save energy it is a total failure. How can you save energy by simply changing the time your heating or air conditioning unit comes on??? Having the sun be up and shining at bedtime makes sleep patterns erratic for children and adults alike. In my opinion the loss of productivity and increase in disturbed sleep patterns every March and November impact our resources far more than changing when your heat comes on!!

DST

I agree with Julie. It's just a scheme by Big Business to fake out the public. There is a Danish study that shows an alarming increase of heart attacks when the clocks are put forward. Children should not be out in the dark morning waiting for their bus. Have you seen the news on 11/1/2018? Many children killed while waiting for their bus as the sun rises later and later. 12:00 noon standard time is when the sun is overhead - why change that? Just go to work earlier and go home earlier.

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