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

disagree I prefer "natural" time "just because". Only so many hours of daylight....God's design.

Daylight saving is great if

Daylight saving is great if you work the first shift. You have an extra hr. of daylight when you get home. As far as farm work I feed my cows before it gets dark. I hated regular time in the winter cause I only had 45 mins. when I got home to feed cows make sure all are ok, if not it's hard to spot a down cow in the woods cause woods get dark quicker than open pasture. I always checked the woods first. Now that I'm retired it doesn't make any difference in the time.

When told the reason for

When told the reason for daylight savings time the old Indian said "Only the government would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket, sew it to the bottom and have a longer blanket."

daylight savings time

I LOVE THIS !

Idiotic, the DST does not

Idiotic, the DST does not save any, based on the research from top universities around the world found a very chilling results and government are idiot/crazy to adapt such a idiotic plan. The definition of sanity is doing the same thing over and over and then expecting a different results.

I wish we would do away with

I wish we would do away with Daylight Saving time. The holidays are often times of sadness for lots of adults, and when we change our clocks back one hour, it makes it dark at around 4:30pm in the East, so not only is the darkness, depressing, but the holiday "blues" dont help. Many of our elderly and young people become more depressed. So If we could only try not changing the time one year I bet there would be a lot less patients in the emergency rooms across the country, seeking help with depression.

I have a difficult time

I have a difficult time understanding why there is a Daylite "Saving" time. You can not save time. Time is time. Setting a clock ahead, or back, an hour does not really change time. It is a delousional thought that you have more time to spend outside if you move the clock ahead an hour in the Spring. When it is 9am in December it is nine am. When the clock says it is 9 am in the summer it is really 8 am, not 9am.

I am sorry for the PUN but we

I am sorry for the PUN but we are in the DARK AGES!
It is totally rediculous to continue with this 'tradition'

Let's take a lesson from the COWS.

It is not as safe. Children are standing at the bus stops in the dark.
All activities happen in the DARK after school.
It does NOT save any energy. As a matter of fact, it is just the opposite.

Please Please REPEAL this idiotic 'LAW'
Let's all join ARIZONA!!!!

I agree whole heartily with

I agree whole heartily with you!

Cows: Not only gastrically

Cows: Not only gastrically superior to humans by 300%, but more wise than the above-average politician.

:D

I hate getting up and going

I hate getting up and going to eat dinner when it is so dark outside. I like the light. I feel shut in. I like to take the dog for a walk after dinner when it isn't dark and colder. For health reasons besides he has to go out.
It's too dark and too cold to take them both on their am walk when it is still dark out; only the hound goes out after dinner. This year who knows what weather we will be having; even the experts don't agree. I'm glad I retired.

Entertaining comments, but

Entertaining comments, but poor language in some. It would be good if people learned to spell "lose" for what they mean.
Yes, safety issues with darkness, yes, health issues for some.

It's always interesting to see who appears late or early for church on the Sunday of change. We enjoyed the twice yearly discussions at home when Dad tried to explain to Mother why we changed and that we didn't really lose that hour- it would come back in the fall.

This particular year we are thankful for the extra hour Nov. 5th into 6th due to hard work Saturday.

Dear Ben Franklin...I don't think we should talk so negatively about him.

I hate DST ! Losing that hour

I hate DST ! Losing that hour in the spring is an adjustment I can't make easily. It wasn't so bad when it was the last Sunday in April but it's totally ridiculous in March ! The extra hour is nice for summer, but I wish 'they' had the common sense to make it end of April and end of Oct. I'd even settle for ONE time, no changes !

extended daylight

you can thank G. W Bush for the change!

I agree with the cows! DST is

I agree with the cows! DST is The stupidest idea ever! Just pick a time schedule & stick with it! Ridiculous! Can all our comments please be passed on the Congress!?

GST

I would like it to stay the same year round. ST or DO, it doesn't matter to me. I just hate switching back and forth.

Time Change

Put it on ET and leave it alone. I hate the spring forward change. It takes me forever to adjust. I wish they would just do away with it.

Split it

I agree that it does NOT make sense to keep switching each Spring & Fall. How about splitting it 1/2 hour & calling it good all year - that should be an easy thing to accept for the ones that like it & the ones that don't!

Idiotic

Quit changing the time. We do not change time in Arizona so we don't have to adjust 29 clocks twice a year and loose sleep a week after each change. SMART!!!!. However, we still have to deal with all of the other idiotic time changes across the US. I don't know of ANYONE that likes the time change!!!!

DST

CHILDREN GO TO SCHOOL IN THE DARK AND COME HOME IN THE DARK WITH AFTER SCHOOL ACTIVITIES. LEAVE IT THE WAY IT IS. DARKER EARLIER MEANS USING MORE ELECTRIC SO WHAT ARE YOU SAVING?

Daylight savings time change

IT NEEDS TO BE ABOLISHED NOW!!!!!!

End daylight savings time

The war that started this was over in 1919 98 years ago. Cows, chickens, pig don't tell time. A farm functions on reality not congressional imposed fantasy. End DST now and forever, stop messing with the clock

Daylight saving time

In my opinion daylight saving time killed the drive in theater

Were I live when school

Were I live when school starts it starts to get dark for the school children and continues until day light savings ends in November. By the time it gets to November it is very dark. It seems that no one seems to care that our children have to go to school in the dark and have greater chances of being abducted or hit by a vehicle. As far as I am concerned we should stay on regular time.

DST

Am I confused? I thought regular time was what happened int the fall and DST was what happened in the spring. Personally I prefer regular time. I hate changing time. It messes me all up especially, with my sleep, as if people don't already have enough trouble sleeping.

Timing

The Editors's picture

Hi, Amber: I think there is some misunderstanding, a bit of apples and oranges. DST is correct as an abbreviation meaning “Daylight Saving Time” but DST is not the correct abbreviation to use for a time zone.

According to every website I

According to every website I can see in my searches, (including this page we're blabbering on now,) Daylight Saving Time (DST) is the accepted term for the time change. Daylight Time (DT) and Standard Time (ST) are only used in conjunction with time zones, clarifying their abbreviations depending on the time of year.

Reference:
timeanddate.com/time/dst/
wikipedia.org/wiki/Daylight_saving_time
cnbc.com/2016/11/05/end-of-daylight-saving-time-means-drop-in-consumer-spending.html
almanac.com/content/when-daylight-saving-time-2016

daylight saving time

Question , what am I supposed to do with all this day light I have saved up? can some one answer me that ?
the sun sets and comes up same time every day annually we revolve around the sun not the sun around us
If the big whigs want to play a game of golf earlier just get up an hour earlier and play

END Daylight savings time

You do not gain a hour of sun. You just loose a hour of sleep! Come on Congress, you only make us fall back just so you can watch football???? Think about us and our next generation for ONCE!

Daylight Savings Time

Lets face it people, daylight savings time was totally invented for the rich, so they can golf an hour later in the evening. "Think about it America, the rich control everything even your own time!"

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