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Most people know what time zone they are in. However, they don’t really understand what a time zone is. Also, they don’t know that a time zone is different from a time standard. This is exactly why so many people say they are in the UTC time zone, when they should be saying that they are in the GMT time zone. Even though GMT and UTC are used interchangeably, they are not the same. So, to makes matters simple, let’s see what a time zone really is, what UTC and the UTC offset is, and then talk about the CDT time zone. Of course, we will provide a list of the major territories that are located in the CDT time zone, as well as all the major cities in this region. Towards the end of the article you will find some very interesting, and fun facts about time zones.

What Is a Time Zone?
Let’s begin by explaining what a time zone really is. As you probably know already, it can’t be noon at the same time all over the world. The Earth is a sphere which rotates. This means that different regions observe noon at a different time. When it’s night in one region, it may be noon in another. This is why time zones have been created. The Earth has been split into 24 slices. Across each slice, time is kept exactly the same. In other words, it will be 12 AM at noon everywhere in a time zone. Keeping time this way offers a lot of benefits to people, companies, and even to the military. As long as you know which time zone you are in and the UTC offset of another country, you can easily calculate the time in that country. But let’s talk about UTC and the UTC offset for a bit.

What Is UTC and the UTC Offset?
UTC stands for Coordinated Universal Time. It is the standard after which all time zones adjust their time. And UTC is not a time zone, remember. It is a time standard. This means that when you say you are in the UTC time zone, you are somewhat wrong. You are in the GMT time zone, which has no UTC offset (GMT is UTC+00:00). The UTC offset is the number of hours between a specific time zone and the UTC time. For example, CDT (an abbreviation for Central Daylight Time) is UTC-05:00. In other words, Central Daylight Time is 5 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time. If another country is in a UTC+05:00 time zone, the time difference between you and people in that country would be of 10 hours. The UTC and the UTC offset are used to quickly calculate the time in any region of the planet, without having to worry about solar time.

What Is CDT Time
Central Daylight Time (CDT) is a Daylight Saving Time zone that is also known as CDST (short for Central Daylight Saving Time) or NACDT (short for North American Central Daylight Time). And, as you’ve probably guessed it already, the CDT time zone covers large parts of the United States and North America. As was stated earlier, CDT is UTC-05:00. In other words, it has an UTC offset of 5 hours (CDT is 5 hours behind UTC). And because it is a Daylight Saving Time, CDT is used during the summer months. In the winter, many of the territories covered by CDT switch to the CST (Central Standard Time) time zone.

Major Territories in CDT Time
There are many territories in the United States, Canada and Mexico that are encompassed by the CDT time zone. However, remember that most of these territories will switch to Central Standard Time during the winter months, as CDT is a Daylight Saving Time.

Here are the states in the United States what use CDT during summer and CST during winter:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • North-western part of Florida
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas except some of its western counties
  • The Western part of Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • The western part of Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Only the eastern parts of Nebraska
  • Only the northern and eastern counties of North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Only the eastern parts of South Dakota
  • Only the western parts of Tennessee
  • Most of Texas
  • Wisconsin

In Canada, however, just 3 territories are mostly in the CDT time zone: most of Ontario, Manitoba and parts of Saskatchewan. There are also a lot of Mexican states that are in the CDT time zone during the summer:

  • Aguascalientes
  • Campeche
  • Chiapas
  • Coahuila
  • Colima
  • Distrito Federal
  • Durango
  • Guanajuato
  • Guerro
  • Hidalgo
  • Jalisco
  • León
  • Michoacán
  • Morelos
  • México
  • Nuevo León
  • Oaxaca
  • Puebla
  • Querétaro
  • Quintana Roo
  • San Luis Potosí
  • Tabasco
  • Tamaulipas
  • Tlaxcala
  • Veracruz
  • Yucatán
  • Zacatecas

Some other territories that are in the CDT time zone are: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. It is not officially known how many people live in the CDT time zone, but the estimates put this number at over 300 million, most of them in the United States.

Major Cities in CDT Time
Because it covers large parts of North America and Canada, there are many large metropolitan areas in the CDT time zone. Here are the most important of them:

  • Amarillo, Texas
  • Antigua, Guatemala
  • Austin, Texas
  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Birmingham, Alabama
  • Bloomington, Illinois
  • Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
  • Des Moines, Iowa
  • Fargo, North Dakota
  • Grand Rapids, Manitoba
  • Guadalajara
  • Guatemala City, Guatemala
  • Houston, Texas
  • Iowa City, Iowa
  • Jackson, Mississippi
  • Kansas City, Missouri-Kansas
  • Lawrence, Kansas
  • Managua, Nicaragua
  • Memphis, Tennessee
  • Mérida, Yucatán
  • Mexico City
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Monterrey, Nuevo León
  • New Orleans
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Panama City, Florida
  • Puebla City
  • Racine, Wisconsin
  • Regina, Saskatchewan
  • Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  • St. Louis, Missouri
  • San José, Costa Rica
  • San Luis Potosí City
  • San Pedro Sula, Honduras
  • San Salvador, El Salvador
  • Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
  • Springfield, Illinois
  • Tampico, Tamaulipas
  • Thompson, Manitoba
  • Wheaton, Illinois
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba

Interesting Facts About Time Zones

  • Now that you know everything there is to know about time zones, UTC and UTC offset, and the CDT time zone, it’s time to read a few interesting and fun facts about time zones:
    Central Daylight Time is, as its name suggests, a Daylight Saving Time. Central Standard Time, on the other hand, is not. This means that while CDT is UTC-05:00, CST is just UTC-6:00.
  • Saskatchewan, in Canada, does not change its time. In other words, this territory is under permanent daylight saving.
  • The change to CDT happens in the second Sunday of March, at 2 AM. The change back to CST happens on the first Sunday of November, at 2 AM.
  • There are time zones that have an offset that contains fractions of an hour. For example, Indian time is UTC+05:30. Another interesting thing to note is that India uses a universal hour all across its vast territory. So it’s always the same local hour everywhere in India. Nepal uses fractions of an hour in its UTC offset as well (Nepal time is UTC+05:45).
  • Not all territories advance their clock by one hour when transitioning to Daylight Saving Time. Lord Howe Island in Australia advances the lock by just 30 minutes instead of the usual hour.
  • Vladimir Putin deleted 3 of Russia’s 12 time zones. Now Russia has just 9 time zone, even though it is spread across no less than 12.
  • China has just one time zone (UTC+08:00), which makes this particular time zone very wide. In fact, it is the widest time zone on planet Earth.
  • Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is the same as London time, but only during the winter. In summer, the United Kingdom observes Daylight Saving Time (GMT+01:00). And the British created GMT.

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