Central Time Zone (North America)

  CST or UTC−6

In North America, the Central Time Zone refers to national time zones which observe standard time by subtracting six hours from UTC (UTC−06), and daylight saving, or summer time by subtracting five hours (UTC−05). The civil standard time throughout the zones, composed of contiguous land and maritime territories in North America, is based on the mean solar time of the 90th meridian west of the Greenwich Observatory.

In Canada and the United States, time observed in the zones is colloquially and generically referred to as Central Time (CT), while in Mexico, time in the zone is Tiempo del Centro. More specifically and officially, occupants of the American and Canadian zones are using Central Standard Time (CST) when observing standard time and Central Daylight Time (CDT) when their jurisdictions observe daylight saving time in the spring, summer, and autumn months. In Mexico, summer time is indicated as horario de verano ("summer schedule") or, officially, horario estacional ("seasonal schedule").

Standard clock time in the Central time zones is two hours ahead of that in the Pacific time zones, one hour ahead of that in the Mountain time zones, and one hour behind that of the Eastern time zones.


Regions using Central Time


The province of Manitoba is the only province or territory in Canada that observes Central Time in all areas.

The following Canadian province and territory observe Central Time in the areas noted, while their other areas observe Eastern Time:

Also, most of the province of Saskatchewan is on Central Standard Time year round. Because Saskatchewan does not observe daylight savings time, its time is the same as Mountain Daylight Time when DST is in effect (summer and parts of spring and fall). Major exceptions include Lloydminster, a town situated on the boundary between Alberta and Saskatchewan; Lloydminster's town charter stipulates that it shall observe Mountain Time and DST, putting the town on the same time as all of Alberta, including the major cities of Calgary and Edmonton.

United States

In the United States, the exact specification for the location of time zones and the dividing line between zones is defined in the Code of Federal Regulations at 49 CFR 71.[1]

States observing Central Time in all areas

States with some areas observing Mountain Time

The following areas observe Central Time, while other areas in each state observe Mountain Time:

States with some areas observing Eastern Time

The following areas observe Central Time, while other areas in each state observe Eastern Time:


Most of Mexico belongs to the Central Time Zone, with the six northwestern-most states being the exception: Baja California Sur, Chihuahua, Nayarit, Sinaloa, and Sonora follow UTC−7, while Baja California follows UTC−8.

The states of Mexico that observe Central Time in their entirety:

Mexico City, which is not a state but instead forms a separate federal district (Distrito Federal), also observes Central Time.

The states of Mexico that observe Central Time only in part with another time zone (other time zone).

  • Nayarit just the Bahia de Banderas municipality uses the Central time zone.

Central Daylight Time

Daylight saving time (DST) is in effect in much of Central time zones between mid-March and early November. The modified time is called Central Daylight Time (CDT) and is UTC−5. Saskatchewan, Sonora and Galápagos do not observe the change, remaining on Standard Time year round. One reason that Saskatchewan does not take part in the time change is that, geographically, the entire province is closer to the Mountain Time Zone's meridian. The province elected to move onto "permanent" daylight saving by being part of the Central Time Zone. The only exception is the region immediately surrounding the Saskatchewan side of the biprovincial city of Lloydminster, which has chosen to use Mountain Time with DST, synchronizing its clocks with those of Alberta.

In those areas of the Canadian and American time zones which observe DST, starting in 2007, the local time changes at 02:00 local standard time to 03:00 local daylight time on the second Sunday in March and returns at 02:00 local daylight time to 01:00 local standard time on the first Sunday in November. Mexico decided not to go along with this change and observes their horario de verano from the first Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October.

Alphabetical list of cities and metropolitan areas

See also

  • Effects of time on North American broadcasting


  1. ^ Complete text of 49 CFR 71 (2010)

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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