When Is Daylight Saving Time in 2019?

Why Do We Change Our Clocks? DST Dates & History

December 4, 2018
daylight-saving-time-clock

When does Daylight Saving Time 2019 begin and when does DST end? Find dates here—as well as the history of Daylight Saving Time, which highlights the seemingly endless debate about saving daylight and changing our clocks.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac (around since the beginning of time or, at least, Benjamin Franklin’s day) answers your frequent questions …

What Is Daylight Saving Time?

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is the practice of moving the clocks forward one hour from Standard Time for 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.

Note that the term is “Daylight Saving Time” and not “Daylight Savings Time” with an “s” at the end of “Saving.” (The word “saving” is singular because it acts as part of an adjective rather than a verb.)

When Is Daylight Saving Time in 2019?

To remember which way to set their clocks, folks often use the expression, “Spring forward, fall back.”

DST begins on Sunday, March 10, 2019, at 2:00 A.M. Remember to “spring forward” in the spring and set your clocks forward one hour (i.e., losing one hour). 

DST ends on Sunday, November 3, 2019, at 2:00 A.M. At this time, we “fall back” in the fall by setting clocks back one hour (i.e., gaining one hour).

    Note: Since the time changes at 2:00 A.M., we generally change our clocks at Saturday bedtime.

    Daylight Saving Time Dates

    (The exceptions to DST are Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.)

    Year Daylight Saving Time Begins Daylight Saving Time Ends
    2018 Sunday, March 11 at 2:00 A.M. Sunday, November 4 at 2:00 A.M.
    2019 Sunday, March 10 at 2:00 A.M. Sunday, November 3 at 2:00 A.M.
    2020 Sunday, March 8 at 2:00 A.M. Sunday, November 1 at 2:00 A.M.

    The History of Daylight Saving Time

    Does changing the clocks really provide benefits? We’ll let you be the judge. 

    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. Still, some resistance remained:

    • In 1997, a bill was introduced to end Daylight Saving Time in Nevada.
    • In 2001, the California legislature requested that its state be allowed to enact Daylight Saving Time year-round in order to eliminate rolling blackouts caused by the electricity crisis in that state.

    Neither of these proposed changes came to pass.

    Daylight Saving Time Today

    The current daylight saving period was established with the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which went into effect in 2007. As a result, most Americans now 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.).

    However, even today, farmers’ organizations lobby Congress against the practice, preferring early daylight to dry 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. 

    Calculate your local sunrise and sunset times!

    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

    I think DST is silly and

    I think DST is silly and outdated - compare with Volunteer Fire Department sirens - just annoying -- everyone needs to let go of this outdated technology and move into the computer age !

    We don't do DST in South

    We don't do DST in South Korea and it seems much more civilized. Stay with natural cycles. Although, the time zones are very arbitrary!

    One additional thing to

    One additional thing to remember: Change the batteries in your smoke detectors when you change your clocks.

    I wish DST was shorter like

    I wish DST was shorter like it was a few years ago. Mexico changed last Sunday Oct 28. I wonder what it is like to live near Arizona but have to travel there regularly for work.

    I do not like DST and never

    I do not like DST and never have. It's just one more example of government intrusion where it is not needed. I like the analogy of the blanket by Mr. Myren above.

    n/a

    n/a

    " It's not nice to fool

    " It's not nice to fool Mother Nature "

    Do away w/DST - the cows

    Do away w/DST - the cows won't mind and the dairymen would enjoy the early daylight. Kids would be safer going to school w/daylight and megabucks would be saved in manhours resetting clocks twice a year - not only household clocks but municipal (town) clocks. Electriciity would be saved by earlier daylight in the morning hours. Bottom line DLS is outdated.

    I could not agree with you

    I could not agree with you more, DST is such a waste of time. Why can't we just leave the clocks alone?

    That's all you know about it.

    That's all you know about it. Cows most definately mind. You ever had a dairy or had milk cows?? I have and oh yes believe me they do mind. Very much. DLS cause health issues and stress all for a few to pretend they are not getting up early all for a big fat lie.

    I use the extra hour to set

    I use the extra hour to set the 10 clocks in my home. Then in the Spring, I try to figure out where am I going to find the TIME to re-set them, and by the time I accomplish that, it's time to re-re-set them. Results?: 10 clocks, all out of sync.

    I sure like the "longer"

    I sure like the "longer" evening in the summer. Why would I want it to get light at 4:30 am in the summer?

    Extra Hour? Change your work

    Extra Hour?
    Change your work times, go in an hour earlier. Imagine the howling if all employers told their employees to show up an hour earlier. As for the wedding, way to go, give the drunks an extra hour to get drunker before hitting the road.

    She said an extra hour ... IN

    She said an extra hour ... IN THE EVENING.

    Here in Puerto Rico, we don't

    Here in Puerto Rico, we don't observe Daylight Savings Time, but it is a real pain for me that you all do. Because I work in radio, and we receive lots of satellite programming from partners in the States, we have to adjust our clocks to suit yours twice per year. This means we have to stay up till 2 a.m. (our time) to watch while the clocks change and then monitor the rest of the night to be sure everything recorded properly. And since what is out of sight is out of mind, every year there is a scramble to find out which way your clocks are moving - and when! Many times we have messed it up and then have the wrong programs on the next day. :(

    Spring Forward Fall Back

    Spring Forward

    Fall Back

    Just do the changing before

    Just do the changing before retiring for the night lol. You do NOT have to sit up & wait.

    I really dislike Daylight

    I really dislike Daylight Savings Time. My 10 year old is going to school before daylight - not to mention the children that are waiting for a school bus at the side of the road in the dark. I prefer good old Standard Time. I particularly hate to "Spring Ahead"!

    I like it because the kids

    I like it because the kids won't have to go to school in the dark now!

    But they have to come home in

    But they have to come home in the dark.

    DST

    My grandchild gets home at 3:30pm it's still daylight.

    Yeah, right!

    Yeah, right. They just have to come home in the dark now! It's simply a manipulation of the clock. I don't like Daylight Saving time, but I think it should be either all the time or none of the time. I don't really care which but I, like a lot of people, am very sensitive to sunlight.

    only a fool would believe

    only a fool would believe ,that you can cut a foot off the top of a blanket,and sew it on the bottom, and have a longer blanket!

    Well duh.....all you have to

    Well duh.....all you have to do is turn the blanket around. That will put the foot on the top down on the bottom, right?
    (joke)

    EXACTLY!!!

    EXACTLY!!!

    Exactly. Silly as can be.

    Exactly. Silly as can be.

    YES! This is the BEST

    YES! This is the BEST argument against DST I have ever heard. Most of these comments are anti DST - so why do we still have it? As with so many things, the majority does NOT have the winning vote in this world!

    It's not a big change, but

    It's not a big change, but nor is it foolish. You aren't extending the hours in the day, you're "rigging" the clock to adjust to the seasonal difference of daylight so that the majority are acclimated to the sunlight for as long as possible.

    How silly people can be. I

    How silly people can be. I agree!!!

    Saving time

    Here i agree - you do not get an extra hour simply by moving a clock hand ahead ! how about rising with the sun and going to bed when it goes down ? why not change the time when you go to work ? get up an hour earlier and stop confusing the cows.

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