Saving Daylight Time?

How much daylight do cities across the world get throughout the year? Does Daylight Saving Time really save any daylight? A visualization to explore these questions.


Garrick Aden-Buie


March 12, 2022



Remember when Daylight Saving Time happened to us again? You know, that day that causes us all to grumble loudly about the ridiculousness of our biannual clock adjustment and loss of sleep?

In this post, I engage in some self-care data visualization to explore day light hours in cities across the world and the United States, inspired by an awesome night hours series by Krisztina Szucs.

Are we saving daylight in Atlanta, GA?

As a parent, I loathe daylight saving time. Nothing reveals the shared delusion of time like trying to explain to your children why we moved the clock forward an hour when it means they’ll suddenly need to go to bed while it’s light out or wake up and get ready for school while it’s dark.

So in this spirit, I started to wonder: what kind of returns are we getting on our daylight saving? Except, rather than try to directly answer that question — since that’s way too hard — I chose to visualize day light hours to see how they align with the modern work day.

The plot below shows the yearly day light schedule for 2022 in Atlanta, GA where I live. We’ll also take a look at the day light schedule in other cities around the world or across the United States. At the end of this post, I’ll share the code I used to make the plot below.

Ribbon plot showing daylight hours from sunrise to sunset in Atlanta, GA for 2022. The plot highlights the shift caused by Daylight Saving Time that where daylight hours are adjusted to be later in the day from March to November.
Atlanta, GA.
Date Sunrise Sunset Daylight Non-Work
Shortest Day Dec 21 7:41 am 5:38 pm 9h 56m 1h 56m
Longest Day Jun 21 6:32 am 8:54 pm 14h 21m 6h 21m

It’s pretty clear from this visualization that in Atlanta, GA, which is very much on the western edge of the U.S. Eastern time zone, year-round standard time is a decent way to live life. What about other cities in the world?

Around the World

Stockholm, Sweden
A sunrise/sunset time plot.

Across the US

It seems that every year we talk about finally doing something about daylight saving time, but this year the U.S. Senate actually went so far as to pass a bill to make Daylight Saving Time permanent. In a suprising-to-no-one twist, the bill is stalled in the House, where representatives are arguing over which of standard or daylight saving time should be permanent.

Would you prefer standard time or daylight saving time? If you’re not sure, check out the Daylight Saving Time Gripe Assistant Tool by Andy Woodruff on Observable.

I thought it’d be interesting to visualize day light hours for U.S. cities. You can use the dropdown below to choose your city or the nearest city with more than 100,000 residents (or just pick a random city!). Then, toggle between Standard or DST to see how either proposal would affect you. Or choose Both to see what will happen in the unimaginable case that the U.S. Congress doesn’t actually make DST permanent.