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Central Time vs. Eastern Time: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on December 14, 2023
Central Time (CT) refers to time zone in North America, 1 hour behind Eastern Time (ET). Eastern Time (ET) refers to North American time zone, 1 hour ahead of Central Time.

Key Differences

Central Time (CT) is a time zone used in parts of Canada, the United States, Mexico, and Central America. Eastern Time (ET) is the time zone used on the eastern coast of the United States and Canada.
Central Time is typically one hour behind Eastern Time. This means when it is 1 PM in CT, it is 2 PM in ET.
Many television programs in the U.S. are broadcast based on Eastern Time, with separate schedules for Central Time. This affects broadcasting and program scheduling across the two zones.
In terms of geography, Central Time covers states like Texas and Illinois, while Eastern Time includes states like New York and Florida.
During Daylight Saving Time, both Central and Eastern Time adjust forward by an hour, but the one-hour difference between them remains.

Comparison Chart

Offset from UTC

UTC-6 standard, UTC-5 daylight saving.
UTC-5 standard, UTC-4 daylight saving.

U.S. Coverage

Central U.S. states like Texas, Illinois.
Eastern U.S. states like New York, Florida.

Daylight Saving Time

Observes daylight saving (spring to fall).
Observes daylight saving (spring to fall).

Broadcast Scheduling

TV shows often listed with separate CT times.
TV shows typically listed in ET, used as reference.

Relation to ET

1 hour behind Eastern Time.
1 hour ahead of Central Time.

Central Time and Eastern Time Definitions

Central Time

Adjusts for daylight saving, moving an hour forward in spring.
Don't forget to set your clocks forward for Central Time's daylight saving change.

Eastern Time

Time zone UTC-5 standard, UTC-4 daylight saving, in Eastern North America.
New York City follows Eastern Time.

Central Time

Geographic time designation covering parts of the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
Dallas operates on Central Time.

Eastern Time

Geographic time designation for the eastern region of North America.
The flight lands at 6 PM Eastern Time in Miami.

Central Time

Time zone UTC-6 standard, UTC-5 daylight saving, in Central North America.
The meeting is scheduled for 3 PM Central Time.

Eastern Time

Time standard for eastern areas of the U.S. and Canada.
Eastern Time is one hour ahead of Central Time.

Central Time

Time standard for regions in the central area of the North American continent.
Central Time is one hour behind Eastern Time.

Eastern Time

Observes daylight saving time, advancing one hour in the spring.
Eastern Time enters daylight saving time this weekend.

Central Time

Used in reference to scheduling events in the central part of the U.S.
The game's broadcast starts at 7 PM Central Time.

Eastern Time

Common reference time for TV broadcasts and national schedules in the U.S.
The president's address will be live at 8 PM Eastern Time.


How many hours apart are Central and Eastern Time?

Central Time is 1 hour behind Eastern Time.

Do Central and Eastern Time zones observe Daylight Saving Time?

Yes, both change their clocks for Daylight Saving Time.

What are the UTC offsets for Central and Eastern Time?

Central Time is UTC-6 (standard) and UTC-5 (DST); Eastern Time is UTC-5 (standard) and UTC-4 (DST).

Which major cities are in Central Time?

Major cities in Central Time include Chicago, Dallas, and Houston.

Which major cities are in Eastern Time?

Major cities in Eastern Time include New York, Atlanta, and Miami.

What is Central Time?

Central Time is a time zone in North America, 1 hour behind Eastern Time.

What is Eastern Time?

Eastern Time is a time zone along the eastern coast of North America, 1 hour ahead of Central Time.

How does Daylight Saving Time affect these time zones?

Both time zones move forward by 1 hour during Daylight Saving Time.

Are TV schedules affected by these time zones?

Yes, TV schedules are often listed in both Eastern and Central Time.

Does Central Time apply to all of Central America?

No, it primarily refers to parts of North America including some U.S. states and parts of Canada.

How do time zone changes affect travel between CT and ET areas?

Travelers need to adjust their watches by 1 hour when moving between the two zones.

Is Florida in Eastern Time?

Most of Florida is in Eastern Time, except for some western parts in Central Time.

Does Texas follow Central Time?

Most of Texas is in Central Time, with some western parts in Mountain Time.

Is Eastern Time the same as New York Time?

Yes, New York follows Eastern Time.

What is the difference in time between ET and CT during Daylight Saving Time?

The difference remains 1 hour.

Do Central and Eastern Time cover the same geographic area in Canada?

No, they cover different geographical areas in Canada.

Is Atlanta in Eastern Time?

Yes, Atlanta is in Eastern Time.

Can a state be in two time zones?

Yes, some states like Florida and Texas span two time zones.

Is Chicago in Central Time?

Yes, Chicago is in Central Time.

Are business hours affected by the difference in CT and ET?

Yes, business hours may differ by an hour between regions in these time zones.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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