Difference Between Eastern Time Zone and Central Time Zone (With Table)

The World is divided into several time zones, this means one country has a different time and another has a different time. These are based mainly on the 3 factors that are:

  1. Sun
  2. Rotation of the Earth
  3. Revolutions of the Earth

For example, in the United States, the different time zone is followed such as central time zone, Pacific Time, etc. All the time zones vary in time from the Coordinated Universal Time. It serves as an advantage for a country with a large population giving a better geographical approach to them.

Eastern Time Zone vs Central Time Zone

The main difference between Eastern Time Zone and Central Time Zone is their difference of time of one hour, Eastern Time Zone is ahead of the time of Central Time Zone they run along with the different states although there are few states through which both Eastern Time Zone and Central Time Zones passes.

Eastern Time Zone is the time zone of North America running along with the states which touch the Atlantic Ocean and is behind 5 hours (EST) and four hours (EDT) the coordinated Universal Time. It is often called Tiempo del Este and Heure Normale d l’Est by the Spanish and the French Population.

North America comes under the Central Time Zone which on the left sides of the Eastern Time zone states which do not touch the Atlantic Ocean and is behind 6 hours (CST) and 5 hours (CDT) of coordinated Universal Time. It is called Tiempo Centrale Estandar in spanish.

Comparison Table Between Eastern Time Zone and Central Time Zone

Parameters of Comparison

Eastern Time Zone

Central Time Zone

Difference in Time

It is one hour ahead.

It is one hour behind.

Runs alongside

The eastern seaboard of the United States.

The left side of the states of the eastern time zone

Affect States

Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Caribbean, parts of Canada, etc.

Minnesota to Louisiana, from Illinois to Kansas and Texas also parts of Canada

Touches Atlantic Ocean

Runs through all states that touch the Atlantic Ocean.

Runs through states that do not touch the Atlantic Ocean.


EST is for Eastern Standard Time and EDT is used for Eastern Daylight Time

CST is used for Central Standard Time and CDT is used for Central Daylight Time

What is Eastern Time Zone?

Following are the countries that are part of the Eastern Time Zone:

  1. Canada: several parts of Canada that come under the Eastern Time Zone are Ontario, Quebec, and Nunavut.
  2. United States: Most of the United States comes under the Eastern Time Zone, states that entirely come under this are: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia; and the states that partially comes under this are: Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee. There are some other states too that come under this but it is not official yet.
  3. Mexico: there is only one state that comes under this, that is Quintana Roo.
  4. Parts of Caribbean Island are covered with the Eastern Time Zone.
  5. Turks and Caicos Island: it used to fall under it until 2015 then again covered under Eastern Time Zone after 2018.
  6. South America: parts of states like Acre, Amazons, Panama, and Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador.

The borderline of this time zone has shifted westwards after 1938.

What is Central Time Zone?

Following are the countries or regions that are part of the Central Time Zone:


  1. Province of Manitoba
  2. Nunavut territory, (parts of Kivalliq and Qikiqtaaluk regions)
  3. Most parts of Saskatchewan Province
  4. And some other provinces partially do cover this time zone.

United States

  1. States that fully are a part of the Central Time Zone are Oklahoma, Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, and Wisconsin.
  2. States that are partially containing The Central Time Zone are Kansas, Texas, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Tennessee.


Aguascalientes, Campeche, Coahuila, Oaxaca, Puebla, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, State of Mexico, Durango, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Mexico City, Michoacán, Morelos, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Tlaxcala, Veracruz, Yucatán, parts of Colima, Chiapas, Nayarit (only a part), Nuevo León, Zacatecas.

Central America

States that use this time zone are:

  1. Belize
  2. Costa Rica
  3. El Salvador
  4. Nicaragua
  5. Honduras, and
  6. Guatemala.

Along with them, parts of Eastern Pacific Ocean islands and other areas also come under the Central Time Zone.

Main Differences Between Eastern Time Zone and Central Time Zone

  1. In comparison to Coordinated Universal Time, there is a difference of 5 hours with Eastern Time Zone and the difference of 6 hours with Central Time Zone.
  2. In comparison, Central Time Zone is behind the Eastern Time Zone in time of one hour.
  3. The Eastern Time Zones is alongside the eastern seaboard whereas the Central Time Zones is alongside on left to the states having Eastern Time Zone.
  4. Eastern Time Zones affects various states that touch the Atlantic Ocean, for example, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Caribbean, parts of Canada, etc and Central Time Zones affect states that do not touch the Atlantic Ocean such as, Minnesota – Louisiana, Illinois, Kansas, and also some parts of Canada.
  5. EST (Eastern Standard Time) is the abbreviation used for the Eastern Time Zone and CST (Central Standard Time) is used for the Central Time Zone.


Therefore it is clear how both the time zones are different from each other also; the Pacific Time Zone in the US is behind three hours of the Eastern Time Zone. This sometimes creates a lot of confusion, therefore; a Coordinated Universal Time has been set up for the world so that individual time zones can be compared to know the exact difference in time.

This also benefits several businesses such as Airlines, Stock, and commodity traders as all of them need to match or know the exact time for their purposes. The disadvantage it has is that it sometimes consumes more time to find out the exact time of some country.


  1. https://www.nature.com/articles/35088576
  2. https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/227631