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

Leave a Comment

It's "too stupid" Stupid!

It's "too stupid" Stupid!

Worried about over

Worried about over consumption of Earth's resources? Why not take one for the team and quit consuming? You know stop using your electronic devices, gas, food, water, and air.

Sun vs. Moon

Please get started on the ignorance of the government, I'm all ears! If we lobby the sun enough and give it a bunch of kick-backs, I'm sure we can get it to change to our liking. The moon will probably suffer though, there's always a catch.

DST

We in Hawaii don't adhere to the DST policy.

Daylight Savings Time...

I live in Arizona where we refuse to play the daylight savings time game. But we still suffer confusion because the other states do impose it. Let's get rid of this nonsense. Dano: What's this about 'little black cats'?

Day Light Savings Time?

in the night,little black cats come floating down,on little black parachutes.They come a creeping,playing their little black fiddles,outside your bedroom window,while you lie sleeping.Sleep deeply they play,sleep deeply they say,as we prepare you for another new day

Old Farmer's Almanac and Daylight Saving Time

I searched for the answer to whether the Almanac website automatically accounts for Daylight Saving time in its postings of sunrise and phases of the moon. Apparently it does, but it would be helpful if that were clearly stated. So, being now in April, with Daylight Saving Time (PDT in California), at "12:00" noon (pm) according to the Almanac, do we see the sun directly overhead or is it at the 11:00 am position in the sky? Also, does sunset begin when the edge of the sun first touches the horizon, or, is it when the center of the sun passes the horizon, or, is it when the top edge of the sun sinks below the horizon?

Daylight Saving Time

Up in North Dakota, we are at the end of Central Time, so just when we are getting light in the morning, we have to go back to darkness. I say we get rid of DLST and stay on Standard Time. Another idea would be to start Daylight Saving Time in May and end it in September. I think Daylight Savings Time only encourages people to sleep in more. It is true that it takes a while t get used to the new time, especially when we lose time in the Spring and end up with darkness in the morning. This whole idea needs to be addressed by President Trump. He should issue an executive order to get rid of it!!

daylight savings time

I agree. Its a waste of our efforts and there is no gain only loss. Think about all the children that have their schedules upset twice a year. It makes not sense.

Daylight Saving Time

!2:00 noon is when the sun is in the middle of the sky. Unless you can change that, there is no reason tamper with time. My metabolic clock never readjusts to losing sleep in the morning and does not want to shut down an hour earlier in the evening. Children are the same way. Plants are going to grow, utilities will be used, gas will be used, electricity will be used, water will be used, all at the same rate each day regardless of the changing of the clock. Tell us the truth...it wasn't for any energy saving was it...it was to control and manipulate the population, and laugh every time we had to change our clocks.

Daylight Time

The concept of Daylight Saving Time is idiotic and should be abolished. What it means is that, just when people are waking up to daylight instead of darkness, we move the clocks ahead and now we wake up in the dark for another month or two. It doesn't "save" any daylight -- the earth's rotation doesn't change when we move the clocks ahead. It still takes the same amount of fuel to heat my house, and the same amount of gasoline to drive my car to work. How can it save energy when it means I have to use electric lights when I wake up instead of daylight?

Dumbest idea ever.

Production during World War times

It saved them from turning on the lights in the factories (for the times they wanted them in operation) that they used to build tanks, etc. It was beneficial during those times. I think the way our society has grown and changed over the years, and should re-evaluate the the use of DST.

Daylight Saving --Sorry, typo correction:

with health problems

Daylight Saving

Please let us get it repealed!! It has already been proven that has not had any benefits.
It is problems for many people wheat and medication problems besides farmers and compaies. In Michigan it already extended the hated dark days of Winter. Really hate the non-sense it cases!

Why not just move the clock

Why not just move the clock ahead 1/2 hour and leave it there as the new "standard" time year round. You still get the later sunset in the summer but eliminate the shock effect of changing the time so early in the year.

WHY NOT JUST MOVE THE CLOCK?

Brilliant idea, Danny! But would any Congressman (or Senator) understand and appreciate your fabulous idea? I think you should go to D.C. and sell it! I'm all for your solution!

DST

Only a fool would cut a foot off the end of a blanket, sew it on the other end and think there is a longer blanket...

Re: DST

Lots of fools that we've elected in the Senate and Congress, Don. They only work 3 days a week. Maybe they're home sewing on the other two "work days"? I'm sure they have lots and lots of blankets (and quilts) on their compensation. So, if we can't convince those idiots, we must live with DST??? I love your logic!

Daylight Saving Time

I really don't like Daylight Saving Time. I'm in Florida and feel that we don't save any money on electricity in the summer months. I wish we were on Standard Time all year.

DST

I also believe DST is antiquated. I wish Colorado would follow Arizona's lead and just leave it be.

DST

Spring the clocks forward and then leave them there year round. It is better for everyone and there is not a disruption any longer.

DST

Year-round DST doesn't work. We tried it in the winter of 1973-74 because of the "energy crisis", and it was a disaster. It was still dark at 8 a.m., kids were getting hit by cars while waiting for school buses or walking to school, and everybody simply hated it. Also, any energy that was saved by the extended daylight in the early evening was used during the darkness of the morning.

Dst

Worst time of the year! I get up for work just after 3a.m, so I always lose even more precious sleep! !

no i hate the day and the sun that long !!! or at all

NOT FOR EVERYONE,SPEAK FOR YOURSELF,I HATE ALL THAT DAYLIGHT, AND SUN AND MORE HEAT UNTIL 9;30 PM !!!! i get so depressed and very angry,this time of year,i hate being hot,and my air having to run xtra hard and long all summer and summer last 4eveeer,it is not fair !!!! as it is we barely get any winter anyway,to cool off and enjoy the early dark months :'(

Daylight Savings Time = Highway Robbery

Giving up an hour and then having to wake up earlier for 8 months feels wrong. As though some one borrowed something very precious and didn’t return it and when they finally did give it back they say they will need it again in 4 months!? How is that supposed to make US feel? We are living in an age where starlight doesn’t matter because it doesn’t make anyone any money. Corporate America sells fear to manipulate and control the working poor. They have people so worried about thieves in the night that all they worry about is LIGHT! They don’t see that they we are all of US being robbed every morning of an hour of sleep and every night of spiritual starlight. I strongly suggest that if you want to save money so desperately, turn off all the street lamps and other unnecessary electrical lights/appliances so we can have starlight. CANCEL DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME so that we can get our much needed sleep without feeling highjacked each morning! Do away with light pollution and get our stars back.

Antiquated Practice!

Great article on the origins and implementation. DST is a ridiculous and antiquated concept. In our 24 hour society, it no longer makes any sense. "Time" to repeal this silliness. I am happy to be in Arizona where we get by just fine without it. The cows have it right!

Too Early In the Year.....Good for Summer not Winter in Canada

We have about 4 more weeks of Winter in Canada. We are just starting to getting up in the light each A.M. and now we are forced to get up in the dark once more for the next two to three weeks. It doesn't need to be so early. Mid-April would be early enough and better for us.
Who do we see about changing this problem? No one knows who is in charge of this disgusting problem. Sometimes the face of government can't be reached and people develop more hatred of government when they have no accountability or ability to affect change. Have you noticed how many of your readers are unhappy with DST and have no ability to affect change? Again, who can make the change?

st

We were the first ones on the bus didn't matter what time we were on it was always dark when we got on and we didn't care. Trust me we were not there saying we wish it was light out js. Lighter in the evening is what we wanted so we could play more and get things done. I vote to leave it on daylight saving time. .

DST

It already is getting light out earlier in the morning, and staying light out later in the early evening. And this would continue. I don't know why, they can't just leave the time the way it is. I don't like it being light outside in Summer until 9pm!- Not necessary, and young children don't want to go to bed, when the sun is still out,

Daylight Saving time

Why not do it tear round now or just stop, It drives me nuts! Anybody else?

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