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Daylight Saving 2021: when do we change the clocks in the US in November?

Daylight saving time causes confusion every six months as the clocks move by an hour in the early hours of Sunday morning. So when do the clocks move this year?

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Daylight Saving 2021: when do we change the clocks in the US in November?
AFP7 vía Europa Press AFP7 vía Europa Press

Each autumn, as the leaves begin to change and the temperatures fall, there is an annual routine which prompts confusion every year. We all know that the clocks ‘fall’ back and ‘spring’ forward, but when should you change your watch?

The change always takes place in the early hours of a Sunday morning, meaning that the exact date will vary from year-to-year.

This year at 2am on Sunday, 7 November the nation’s clocks will shift back an hour to 1am. This means that you will essentially live the same hour twice, lengthening the night and giving everyone an extra 60 minutes in bed.

This may sound like a good thing, but the autumnal shifting of the clocks means that winter is on its way and the days will start getting darker earlier. The amount of daylight will continue to shorten each day, until the winter solstice on 21 December.

What is the history of daylight saving?

Although Benjamin Franklin is often credited with the invention of daylight saving for proposing the idea in a 1784 essay entitled ‘An Economical Project’, it wasn’t seriously consider for another century.

It was William Willetts, a builder from Great Britain, who became the key advocate for the cause and it was first enacted as a way to conserve coal during the First World War.

In the United States the practice of daylight saving continue in a fair ad-hoc basis, employed by various local and state authorities, until being enshrined nationally with the Uniform Time Act of 1966. From then on the change was overseen by the Department of Transportation, who have since linked the federal mandate to reductions in energy and crime.

Although the switch has now become a federal decision, states do have the ability to opt out and a small number do so. Hawaii does not currently observe daylight saving, and most of Arizona also opts out.

Until 2006 Indiana did not follow daylight saving time state-wide, with different counties allowed to decide for themselves. This was particularly confusing because the state spans two different time zones, and a bill passed in 2005 unified time-keeping across Indiana. It seems like a logically move by then-Governor Mitch Daniels became unpopular for passing the controversial law.