Daylight Saving Time 2021: When Does the Time Change?

When Does Daylight Saving Time Begin This Year?

January 1, 2021

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!


Reader Comments

Leave a Comment

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.


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


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!


Daylight is must saving time potection is nice idea


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!


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 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...


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.


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.


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???!!!!


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.


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


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.


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!


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.