Later this week, most Americans will go through yet another seasonal clock change. Setting the clocks back persists across most U.S. states, despite claims that changing the clocks twice a year disrupts circadian rhythms and is connected to a rise in health issues and car accidents. Even work performance is thought to be impacted.
Recent CivicScience data show that “falling back” or “springing forward” is of little perceived benefit to most Americans. And compared to 2021, an even stronger majority of Americans oppose the seasonal clock adjustment routine and support making daylight saving time permanent. This increase could be related to a growing awareness of the issue, as the U.S. Senate moved forward with a bill to make daylight saving time permanent earlier this year, although it is still being debated.
Region plays a (minor) role. The majority of Americans across all U.S. Census regions generally support the move to make daylight saving time permanent, but those living in the West are slightly more in favor (69%) than those in the Northeast and South (63%) or the Midwest (61%).
Circadian rhythms and/or schedules may also influence opinion. People who identify as ‘night owls’ are much more likely than ‘morning people’ to want to keep daylight saving time year-round. More sunlight at night during the winter months and less in the morning benefits night owls more, leaving morning people to feel less enthusiastic or uncertain about permanent daylight saving time. Even so, the majority of both night and morning people prefer to do away with the bi-annual clock change.
Favorability for permanent DST varies by age. Interestingly, a high percentage of young adults (two-thirds of Gen Z and nearly half Millennials) are opposed to permanent daylight saving time or uncertain. Past CivicScience data show younger adults are better able to quickly adjust to the clock change, suggesting they may not see a real need for switching to permanent daylight saving time.
Turning back the clocks this fall will of course affect the amount of sunlight exposure that people receive throughout the day. Here’s what else we’re seeing on that topic:
- Many Americans need a sunshine boost: 54% of U.S. adults say they get enough sunlight throughout the year, while 37% say they do not.
- Naturally, region accounts for a lot. Close to half of Americans living in the U.S. Northeast and Midwest say they do not get enough sunshine throughout the year. That’s compared to less than a third of those living in the South (home of the Sunshine State) or the West.
- That’s important because… Sunshine is essential for Vitamin D production and is connected to emotional well-being. Those who say they don’t get enough sunshine report higher levels of sadness and stress, and lower feelings of happiness, compared to those who feel they get enough sunlight. This could be one reason why different U.S. regions have different emotional well-being readings throughout the year.