Daylight Saving Time 2019: When Does the Time Change?

See When to Turn the Clocks Back, Plus The History of DST

August 5, 2019

When does Daylight Saving Time 2019 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 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.

Note that the term is “Daylight Saving Time” and not “Daylight Savings Time” (with an extra “s” at the end of “Saving”), 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.

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 began 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 before bed on Saturday.

    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
    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.
    2021 Sunday, March 14 at 2:00 A.M. Sunday, November 7 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

    Thank you, zoo keeper! We

    The Editors's picture

    Thank you, zoo keeper! We made the correction to this Daylight Saving Time page.

    Real time during the year

    During DST is the spring ahead time the correct time or the fall back time correct?

    I agree with this thought on

    I agree with this thought on daylight savings time.

    “Only the white man’s government would be so stupid as to cut a foot off the top of a blanket, sew it onto the bottom, and think they have a longer blanket.”

    I say stop.

    Your a special kind of stupid

    Your a special kind of stupid aren't you?
    Who turns something like time change into a race issue. Dumbass!

    It's not a race issue, Mike.

    It's not a race issue, Mike. The blanket notion came from the idea of native Americans pointing out that the US government and its agents, at the time exclusively Caucasian and thus called collectively "The white man," would take something from you, then give it back and claim you were better off than you started, to their own credit. They do the same thing to every one of us every year this time change nonsense continues.

    Next up: When insulting another person's intelligence, at least choose your words carefully and use proper grammar – dumbass.

    My grampaw always lived by

    My grampaw always lived by the sun in the hills of ky. Right now when the sun is setting at noon it is between 2.45 an 3. Before rhos crap come 4pm. Work was done an by 6 it. Was almost dark. Id rather live by the sun proven that people that does actually lives longer

    This needs to stop. Can't

    This needs to stop. Can't Congress see our kids going to school in the dark? What do they care? Just for a extra hour of sunlight? Yeah you get that. BUT you also get extra electricity bill because your AC will be on more than it should on regular time. We need to stop this STUFF. I agree. Change the clock 30 minuets back and LEAVE IT ALONE!!!!

    I have been saying this for

    I have been saying this for years.1 half hour,and leave it alone. Especially for the children sake.

    There is a very simple fix to

    There is a very simple fix to this daylight savings problem. Congress should mandate all clocks in the country shall change one half hour at midnight December 31st. Then leave the damn clocks alone from that date on.

    November 1, 2015, falls on

    November 1, 2015, falls on Sunday, not Saturday.

    The writer states to change

    The writer states to change your clocks before "going to bed" on Saturday, not that the time actually changes on Saturday. I'm assuming the writer thinks everyone probably goes to bed prior to midnight, which would be Saturday, in this case.

    Time does not change until

    Time does not change until early morning sunday NOT saturday, which is why they say change your clocks before going to bed.

    I only liked DST when I

    I only liked DST when I gained an extra hour of sleep. Just saying.

    Technically Speaking

    You aren't gaining anything. You are being given back the hour that was stolen from you in march.

    Just one more reason for the

    Just one more reason for the fat gain by our children. They barely get enough exercise now, so lets take away an hour of daylight they can play in and just watch those extra pounds roll on....... We need some more obese children, oh yah, adults too.

    I think you are confusing

    I think you are confusing lack of daylight with lack of exercise and proper diet as the cause of fat people. Just forget about all the greasy, sugary crap that they stuff their faces with while binge watching Netflix. Don't forget that 2 blocks is too far for most people to walk to get anything from the corner store.

    If daylight savings start n

    If daylight savings start n march then why do everyone think it starts n november when that's actually the end date?

    I like DST you get more

    I like DST you get more sunshine after working hours...i wish they kept it thru winter. A lot of people get mild to moderatle de pression from fewer light hours in winter. Life is not so hard to change a clock. twicw a year now.

    it can only work when the

    it can only work when the northern hemisphere is closest to the sun. If it stayed the same year round our sunlight would be early in the morning before anybody was out of bed.

    If you want to go by sun

    If you want to go by sun time, then eliminate time zones which do not follow the sun. That would mean that correct time would change whenever you moved to a new place other than true north or south of where you started. But you would still change time in respect to day or night which changes whenever you travel north or south. You would also have the seasons changing as you went north or south. I think I will keep the present system.

    There is no different season

    There is no different season for north south east west. An far as time zones r u eduacated. Any were in the us when the sun sets directlt above ur head it is noon apparently uv growed up with modern civilization which i grew up living with lat 1800 early 1900. North south east west different seasons my god man no matter were u r. Fall will arrive all over watcj the trees animals grass insects or ur not from a place u have to know it to survive

    The question is are YOU educates

    If you travel from New York City to Sydney Australia in December you will go from winter to summer. From freezing temperatures to upper 90s and maybe even 100s. You obviously have no clue how seasons and hemispheres work. Go back to school and leave the conversation to tje adults.

    Standard or DS time, the

    Standard or DS time, the system we use of 24 hours of equal length is from Babylon and nothing good ever came from Babylon...

    The Jewish system divided the day by the position of the sun, hence mid-day always being when the sun is overhead and midnight halfway through the night. Sunset began the day and ended it. This is the pattern of nature, and of God, if you will...

    Such a pattern, implemented today would give shortened hours during the winter, and longer hours during the summer, with daytime and nighttime hours most nearly equal at the equinoxes, but work times proportional to the days length, year round. The effect would be to have longer work days in the summer and shorter in the winter; this is cow-time...

    With modern electronics, clocks could be made to accurately make the constant changes, or eliminated in favor of the sun-dial... For scientific purposes the ideal second could be retained for precision measurement, but that kind of precision doesn't really fit our life rhythms; that's why we are so screwed up, forced into cycles that are unnatural, Babylonian.

    I expect that near 100% will object to the implementation of this system, but it is essentially the system we will all revert to, if ever the SHTF.

    I understand and appreciate

    I understand and appreciate all of the arguments against DST, but I like it. I can't sleep well after sun rise, and though retired now, I used to enjoy the extra daylight after work to get outside. For those people with 9to5 jobs, extra daylight after work for outside sports activities is a big deal.

    Back in the 70's, Richard Nixon kept the nation, as I remember, on DST all year. The main complaint was that children were forced to wait for the morning bus in the dark, which was believed to be not as safe. We went back to ST during the winter.

    NO, I don't like DST. An

    NO, I don't like DST. An unnecessary inconvenience.

    Since daylight saving time is

    Since daylight saving time is roughly 7 to 8 months long, hasn't it become the new "standard" time? And why aren't the start and stop times equi-distant from the solstice? We change the clocks 6 to 7 weeks before the winter solstice but don't change them back until 10 to 11 weeks after the winter solstice. Maybe we should just split the difference by changing the clocks a half hour and be done with it.

    I think it's useless. It does

    I think it's useless. It does not change the amount of daylight or dark.

    I agree with most of the

    I agree with most of the comments I've read. I think we really need to stop messing with our internal clocks. It's kinda like having jet lag when traveling across time zones. It takes a few weeks to get adjusted to the new time ESP when the time springs forward. Let's just keep the time alone on Standard Time. It is easier to adjust your schedule according to the amount of sunlight than it is to change our clocks. Businesses could adjust their hours too. I have visited Arizona in the Summertime and it did seem strange how early the sun came up and how early the sun went down. But if they can do it so can we. Think we would all be better for it.

    So i was curious if anyone

    So i was curious if anyone knew if day light savings time actually feel on the full moon' or the equinox …originally. and for convenience we changed it

    What happened to stopping DST

    What happened to stopping DST ...I thought there was talk of doing away with it?