What is the time zone of Kentucky?

The state of Kentucky is divided into two time zones. About two third, including the cities of Louisville and Lexington-Fayette, are in the Eastern Time zone and observing daylight savings so there are two different clocks depending on the time of year. 

Eastern Standard Time (EST): – 5:00 UTC/GMT (behind)

Eastern Daylight Time (EDT): – 4:00 UTC/GMT (behind)


The west part of the Kentucky, covering about 30% of the state, is in the Central Time zone and also observing daylight savings so there are two different clocks depending on the time of year.

Central Standard Time (CST): – 6:00 UTC/GMT (behind)

Central Daylight Time (CDT): – 5:00 UTC/GMT (behind)

Central Time
Eastern Time
us state Kentucky counties time zone map
Kentucky time zone
USA time zone map 1
Click to enlarge

Kentucky borders with 7 other states. All eastern and northern neighbours (West Virginia, Virginia and Ohio) are in eastern time, while Illinois and Missouri in the central time. Indiana and Tennessee apply dual zones, but when crossing the border out of Kentucky no clocks have to be changed as the areas are aligned.

Zone boundary

The Kentucky boundary line between two time zones lies east of for Knox. It follows the north/east borders of the counties Breckinridge, Grayson, Hart, Green, Adiar, Russell and Clinton.

Kentucky time zone border
Kentucky time zone border

The official border is defined in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) §71.5. (c):

Kentucky Code of Federal Regulations

Daylight savings time (DST)

Kentucky is using daylight savings as also documented in the Uniform Time Act of 1966. During daylight savings the time changes from Standard time to Daylight time, so CST becomes CDT and EST becomes EDT depending on the location.

It starts on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November. In March the clock is moved forward from 02.00 am to 03.00 am (so you will lose an hour of sleep during the night). While in November it’s reversed as the clock is moved backward from 03.00 am to 02.00 am and you will gain an extra hour of sleep. One way of remembering the movement sequence is that clocks “spring forward and fall back”.

The total period of daylight savings lasts for 34 weeks which is about 65% of the year.

Kentucky time news, bills and legislation

There is a continuous debate about which time should be applied. Several bills have been introduced to legalize daylight saving time as the year-round clock, whereas others try to align the time with bordering counties or states. The table below gives an overview of the latest bills in the state of Kentucky.

Date Bill Status/Action Title/summary
10 Feb 2020 HCR53 To Senate State & Local Government Committee Urge the United States Congress to enact legislation allowing states to permanently adopt daylight saving time.
13 Jan 2020 HB19 To House State Government Committee Create a new section of KRS Chapter 2 to adopt year-round daylight saving time in the state of Kentucky if authorized by the United States Congress; effective upon the first Sunday of November following passage of enabling legislation by Congress.

Other US states

You can check out information and maps of other US states by clicking on the below links.