While it may feel like autumn leaves began falling forever ago, for the world’s Northern Hemisphere, summer just recently became a thing of the past with the conclusion of Daylight Savings Time (DST). In the United States and Canada, DST ends on the first Sunday in November, just a week after Europe says goodbye to DST, along with the many other countries that also observe the change around this time of year. Daylight Savings Time may allow us to accomplish more while the sun is up, thus helping us burn less of the midnight oil, but DST also causes a boatload of confusion twice per year. It can be a controversial topic as there are countries that avoid DST altogether, countries that religiously change their clocks twice per year, places that are planning on eschewing DST for the first time in 2019, and locations that tried implementing it long ago but then said, “No thanks, we’ll pass.”
View Daylight Savings Time by Country in a full screen map
The map above contains the Daylight Savings status of countries and places around the world, and here’s a hint: there are more countries that steer clear of DST than observe it. But if this is the case, why it was established in the first place?
Daylight Savings Time — also called Summer Time or Daylight Saving Time in many countries — has been in place for a while now. It officially came to be in 1918 during World War I, but the idea behind DST predates the first world war. While visiting the City of Lights (and rain, as Paris happens to be on the same latitude as Seattle) in 1784, Benjamin Franklin noticed that the folks of France were sleeping in long after the sun had risen and were closing their shutters to keep the light out. The Parisians were also staying up late into the night and wasting candles by doing so. Franklin’s solution to the wasting of perfectly good and workable daylight hours was to fire a cannon to wake everybody up at the same time. Unfortunately, that wasn’t super feasible, so Franklin died before seeing the light — so to speak — of Daylight Savings Time.
Later, other folks came to the same conclusions as Franklin, and by the time WWI began, countries were enacting DST to save fuel. Known as “war time” back then as it started and ended with each subsequent war, it later became a much more permanent part of our lives in 1966, when the U.S.’s Uniform Time Act called for war time — now “Daylight Savings Time” — to be enacted across the U.S. whether or not there was an ongoing war.
One hundred and six countries and other locations worldwide do not observe Daylight Savings Time at all, though 71 countries and places currently do observe it. For 64 of the 71 locations that are in the habit of changing their clocks, like the U.S. and Greece, DST has just recently come to an end. For seven DST-enacting places, though, like Australia and Brazil, their DST is just beginning, along with their summer.
However, there will soon be much less than 71 countries observing DST around the world. Of the 71 places that currently change their clocks twice per year, about 27 will join the masses that don’t in 2019. Countries within the European Union are getting rid of DST altogether, plus, four countries not considered part of the E.U. are also planning to jump on the bandwagon and eschew DST. This will leave just 40 places still observing Daylight Savings Time.
Here’s the master list of the 71 countries currently observing DST and how these E.U. changes could all play out in 2019:
- Akrotiri and Dhekelia
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Estonia
- Faroe Islands
Finland France Germany Greece Greenland
- Holy See
- Isle of Man
Lithuania Luxembourg Malta
- New Zealand
Norway— not a part of the E.U., but still getting rid of DST in 2019
Poland Portugal Republic of Ireland
- Republic of Macedonia
- Saint Pierre and Miquelon
- San Marino
Serbia— not a part of the E.U., but still getting rid of DST in 2019 Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden Switzerland— not a part of the E.U., but still getting rid of DST in 2019
Ukraine— not a part of the E.U., but still getting rid of DST in 2019
- United Kingdom
- United States
- Western Sahara
Overall, most of Africa, Asia, Central America, and some South American countries closer to the equator have never observed Daylight Savings Time, nor has the majority of Oceania, except for New Zealand and Australia. The majority of Europe and North America currently observe DST, in addition to some Middle Eastern locations and the southernmost part of South America. However, all of this is set to change in 2019.
In September of this year, the European Commision in charge of law-making for the E.U. proposed to get rid of Daylight Savings Time. If this bill is submitted by the Commission, approved by parliament and all of the E.U.’s member states, then the very last DST time change will occur on Sunday, March 31st, 2019. In October of 2019, Europe will switch back to standard time for good. The reason for this drastic change? The opinion of the people. A survey conducted Europe-wide suggests that over 80% of those living in the E.U. want to scrap DST.
Getting rid of DST would see an end to the confusion that comes with asking folks to adjust their clocks twice per year because unless you’re looking at something like our map, you’re not always sure when and in which direction you should change your clocks. Additionally, no more DST means a decrease in car accidents around the time of the switch, since people will no longer have to adjust their energy levels to drive to work at 6 AM instead of 7 AM, and vice versa. Lastly, the lives of those working in transportation won’t have to amend schedules for the change any longer, which is great because transportation has enough issues already, like commute times. Well done, E.U.!
The European Union isn’t totally unique in its goal of removing Daylight Savings Time, nor is it the first to do so. If we count the two U.S. states that no longer observe DST, there are 69 places that had previously observed it, but no longer do.
The U.S., for example, saw both Hawaii and Arizona attempt to implement DST, but then both say “It’s not for us,” although for very different reasons. In Hawaii, DST simply isn’t necessary. Hawaii is so close to the equator that the sun is pretty consistent year-round in its rising and setting times.
Arizona, on the other hand, realized DST was doing the exact opposite for Arizonans than what it was intended to do: save energy. Arizonans actually ended up using more energy when DST extended their daylight hours because more daylight meant keeping the A.C. on for longer. After all, Arizona is known for its sizzling temperatures. Just a couple years after DST became a permanent fixture across the U.S., AZ opted out.
There are even some countries in Europe in which have beat the E.U. to the punch. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkey won’t have to change a thing come 2019, as these European countries are ahead of the game — or clock — and already no longer observe DST.
Mapping Daylight Savings Time by country made it easy to visualize which parts of the world DST affects the most — and why, as it’s now clear that most places near the equator don’t implement DST, and don’t really need to. Other helpful maps that make data easier to process by providing a visual include this map of the most disastrous natural disasters in world history.