Indiana time zones

What time is it in Indiana?

Answer: It depends. While the majority of the state (geographically speaking) is in the Eastern Standard time zone all year round (never moving its clocks forward or back), portions of Indiana are in the Central Time zone, and a few southeastern counties unofficially observe Eastern Daylight time during the summer months.

When do the clocks change this year?

April 2: Daylight savings time begins
October 29: Daylight savings time ends

Counties observing central time

Northwest Indiana Southwest Indiana
Jasper Gibson
Lake Posey
Laporte Spencer
Porter Vanderburgh
Newton Warrick

Bottom line:
Counties on Central Time are one hour BEHIND the rest of Indiana during the winter and on the “same time during the summer months with all Indiana counties except those in southeastern Indiana.”

Counties observing Eastern Daylight Time

Southeast Indiana

Bottom line: Counties unofficially observing EDT (Eastern Daylight Time) during the summer months will be one hour AHEAD of the rest of the state. Some business and government offices have two clocks on their walls—one with EDT and the other with EST.

Simple rule of thumb

Daylight time begins in most parts of the U.S. (and in the counties listed above) on the first Sunday in April and ends on the last Sunday in October. On the first Sunday in April, clocks are set ahead one hour at 2 a.m. local standard time, which becomes 3 a.m. local daylight time. On the last Sunday in October, clocks are set back one hour at 2 a.m. local daylight time, which becomes 1 a.m. local standard time.

But not everyone practices daylight savings time

Not all places in the U.S. observe daylight time. In particular, Arizona, Hawaii, and most of Indiana do not use it. In Indiana, there are three time zones observed during summer (although 87 of 92 counties actually have the same clock time) and two time zones in winter (when 82 counties out of 92 are on the same time).

A short history of daylight savings time in the U.S.

Legal citation: U.S. Code, Title 15, Chapter 6, Subchapter IX
Although standard time in time zones was instituted in the U.S. and Canada by the railroads in 1883, it was not established in U.S. law until the Act of March 19, 1918, sometimes called the Standard Time Act. The act also established daylight saving time, a contentious idea back then. Daylight savings time was repealed in 1919, but standard time in time zones remained in law. Daylight time became a local matter. It was re-established nationally early in World War II, and was continuously observed from 9 February 1942 to 20 September 1945. After the war, its use varied among states and localities. The Uniform Time Act of 1966 provided standardization in the dates of beginning and end of daylight time in the U.S. but allowed for local exemptions from its observance. The act provided that daylight time begin on the last Sunday in April and end on the last Sunday in October, with the changeover to occur at 2 a.m. local time. During the “energy crisis” years, Congress enacted earlier starting dates for daylight time. In 1974, daylight time began on 6 January and in 1975 it began on 23 February. After those two years the starting date reverted back to the last Sunday in April. In 1986, a law was passed permanently shifting the starting date of daylight time to the first Sunday in April, beginning in 1987. The ending date of daylight time has not been subject to such changes and has remained the last Sunday in October. (Information courtesy of the U.S. Naval Observatory.)