Daylight Saving Time 2020: When Does the Time Change?

When Does Daylight Saving Time Begin?

March 5, 2020

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

Meet Half Way

Meeting half way, as suggested by Nancy sounds like the best idea yet. Just keep it there year round.

Daylight Savings Time

Please get rid of it! It wreaks havoc on everyone's circadian rhythm (taking weeks to get back in sync), it is extremely hard on parents of young children and it is so depressing to be in the dark at 4:00 in the afternoon.

Standard Time Please

Just stick with standard time would be my vote. Prefer the morning light and too many people are amped up in the summer anyway. I'll take the compromise of splitting the half hour though, just to be done with it.
While we're at it, maybe we could take one day away from January and March and give them to February. January is too long and February is just silly. :)


I'm with you! Drop DST ALTOGETHER AND LEAVE IT ON STANDARD. It is more natural!

DST is outdated, get rid of it.

Get rid of this going back and forth switch.. We need to be on the Spring forward time which gives the most hours of daylight possible in the evening.. besides don't they say people get depressed in the winter for lack of Sunlight? in NOV thru Feb when people go to work its dark then when getting off work at 5 its dark..
Its almost as if the Government is intentionally trying to depress people.

Day Light Savings

Do away with it, there is no real need anymore to have it. At least put it back to April and October then. It stays lighter longer anyway in the spring and summer and I am sure their are a few states that don't observe it at all. It doesn't bother me that it gets dark at 5 in the winter, I like being home snuggled up anyway.


I'm with you!

i hate daylight until 9 or 9:30 pm !!!

i agree with you,i LOVE dark at 5pm !!!! i am so depressed and mad with all that daytime in the summer and sun and more heat !!!!! uugghh

Daylight Saving Time

Pick one and stay there. The old "First People" guy was right. Cutting off the top of the blanket and adding to the bottom does not give you a longer blanket. Government thinking it knows best by kidding the people. Not..... Silly....

DAylight Saving Time

I absolutely love it - I go into a funk when November comes and it gets dark at 5:00 but those long, summer nights of DST are pure joy. I'm happy that it's a longer time now with DST than it used to be. We're on 8 months of DST and only 4 mts.of Standard Time. We're gravitating toward 12 months of DST.

Daylight Saving Dilemma-QUESTION

I know this is stupid, but years ago, when I subscribed to TVGuide (pre computer days) on the weeks that Daylight Saving Time began or stopped the TVGuide would have, at 2:00 am in the morning a regular layout. That is, on those days there would be 24 hours of programming. Excuse me, but wouldn't there be one week of 23 hours of programming and one week of 25 hours of programming due to the time change? I actually called my local TV station and asked them about it and they gave me a nice reply but it wasn't an answer. They simply explained the logistics of Daylight Saving Time to me, which I had already understood, it was the TVGuide that confused me. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

DST and TV Guide

As I recall, what TV Guide used to do was ignore the fact that the clock changes at 2:00 AM (when very few stations were operating anyway, back in the day) and start the time change with Sunday morning's listings. So, if we were on standard time, all of Saturday's listings would be in standard time and the listings for Sunday morning would be the first ones in DST. So there were no 23- or 25-hour days. Listings began with 5:00 AM or whatever time the stations signed on in the morning, and continued until sign-off, so the "wee hours" of Sunday were still regarded as Saturday night. That is how the TV Guide magazine used to do it; your local paper may have done something different.

Daylight savings time

I hate it. The government forces me to get us an hour earlier.

Time change

Winter is no fun in Chicago since we're so far East in the central time zone, the shortest day of the year means it's full on dark at 4:30 in the afternoon here

Daylight savings time

I hate time changes...I am feeding my horses in the dark half of the time....or trying to get them to adjust to the change. We live in a rural area an kids ride school buses long distances, leaving and are often getting on and off off buses in the dark.
And, studies show people don't use vehicles, appliances, and heating like they did when originally enacted. It is not financially as effective today.

Judith Davis-reply:

I think it is now, as it has always been, a matter of convenience for the "business" person rather than the rural average Joe/Jane that DST was designed to help. The business worker, as a general rule works 9-5 so an afternoon with an extra hour of sunlight for gold is just dandy. The "laborer" or rural person is, if they have a job away from home (that is not a farmer, etc.) is on the job at 7:00 a.m. and working just as the business job holder is tapping the alarm clock. Do the math. I will say that now that I'm working the "business" hours it's a bit nicer for me, personally, however, a few years ago I was working more of a "rural" type job and it was always hard to adjust to getting up, being on the road for a solid hour driving in the dark just to get to the job at 6:30. I do see the sides of both arguments and have sympathies for both. What I'm wondering is when someone is going to split the difference by a half-hour and keep it that way year round.

correction - typo

Golf____golf not 'gold' here - (sorry) *extra hour of sunlight for gold is just dandy.*

Daylight Savings Time

Enough already congress! Split the difference by 1/2 hour and be done with it. It's just another unnecessary nuisance in life.


I would like us to compromise on the half hour and leave it alone. It is hard for animals, kids and shift workers.

daylight savings time

The "spring forward" is so hard on people. It takes so longer to recover from that lost hour and then once again it is pitch black dark when I have to wake up. At least wait until April to change it & do it at 2am on a Saturday so Monday work is a little better. Better yet, just move it half an hour & then LEAVE IT ALONE!!

Daylight Savings Time

I am in favor of keeping Daylight Savings Tome year round.

Let's have Year-Round DST and Expand it in Summer

I live in the Chicago area.
I'd like to see the sun go down later year-round.
And It doesn't need to come up at 5am as it does in the summer. Moving that hour of sunlight to the evening would make summer more enjoyable.

Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time is the most ludicrous idea...just because the clock is reading 6am, by body will continue reminding me that is is actually 5am, in "real" time! It takes my body about 3 weeks to finally feel in sync with the clock. For me, it's one of the most dreaded times of the year.

Daylight Saving Time

D.S. T works well in the eastern end of time zones and lousy in the western end. In Michigan and Indiana more electricity is wasted in pre-dawn hours than is saved and School Children are left waiting in the dark for a bus to school.

Move it 1/2 hour and never

Move it 1/2 hour and never touch it again

I do like DST and mostly

I do like DST and mostly because I have SAD depression. Today the sun rose at 8:18am and will set at 6:25pm. Tomorrow, because DST will end, it will rise at 7:19am and set at 5:24pm. I like that hour of sunlight in the evening instead of in the morning; sunlight doesn't mean as much at 7:30am, but I like it to at least stick around to about 6:30pm instead of 5:30pm.


It is an old out-of-date concept in this day and age! DST has way more negatives than positives! MOST people do not like the dark. It doesn't save time, make time or give time! Darkness is a negative for those, such as myself with SADS/depression; and for Seniors and children going to school. One wakes up in the dark and goes home in the dark – DO AWAY WITH IT!

I've never understood the

I've never understood the concept of Daylight Saving Time. Can't get away from the darkness no matter what you do. As said below, time is time.

Personally- it does not

Personally- it does not matter to me-but I know a lot of folks don't like it-for different reasons-many folks-some I know have a condition called SAD -Seasonal Affective Disorder -