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Which Countries Change the Clock?

by Katharina Buchholz

Every March, the clocks in several countries around the world change by one hour and don’t change back until October. This practice – adhering to daylight savings time – is a contentious one. At one point, it means one fewer hour of sleep for those involved – an hour that is not gained again for half a year. For this and a multitude of other reasons, changing the clock is loathed by those who it leaves tired and – worst case scenario – late for work. A 2016 study even claims that sleep deprivation on the day of the shift into daylight savings causes an increase of accidents like fatal car crashes.

Proponents meanwhile tout the benefits of shifting daylight onto the evenings during the spring. Conserving energy in the evenings was the reason the measure was invented in the first place, but contemporary studies have shown it does not fulfil this purpose in the modern world.

Extra light for evening outdoor activities might still be seen as an advantage by many but this can also be achieved by adopting permanent daylight savings time, a change that several U.S. states and on a federal level, Sen. Marco Rubio, have been lobbying for. The advantage of shifting daylight back and forth between spring evenings and fall mornings might really only be felt in light-starved countries at Northern latitudes.

Fewer than 40 percent of countries in the world currently apply daylight saving time switches, although more than 140 countries had implemented it at some point. So far only two U.S. states – Arizona and Hawaii – have abandoned changing the clocks, both adopting permanent winter/standard time. Canadian provinces Saskatchewan and Yukon meanwhile have adopted permanent daylight savings. All European Union countries and many European non-members continue to make the switch twice a year. Outside of Europe and North America, changing the clocks is also practiced in Iran, most of Mexico, Argentina, Paraguay, Cuba, Haiti, the Levant, New Zealand and parts of Australia.

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