What Is the Difference Between Central and Pacific Time?

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The difference between Central and Pacific time is two hours. Central time is two hours ahead of Pacific time. The Pacific time zone is mainly comprised of the U.S. states on the West Coast along with parts of Canada and Mexico, while the Central time zone includes U.S. states such as Arkansas, Iowa, Illinois and Missouri, as well as a significant portion of Canada, Central America and the Caribbean Islands.

All of the world’s 24 time zones are based on the international date line that runs through Greenwich, England. This time zone is called Greenwich Mean Time or Coordinated Universal Time and is abbreviated as UTC. Time zones east of UTC receive a plus sign, while time zones west of UTC receive a minus sign. Since the Central time zone is six time zones west of UTC, it has the designation of UTC-6. The Pacific time zone is eight time zones west of UTC, so it has the designation of UTC-8.

The Pacific time zone includes the entire states of Washington, California and Nevada, most of Oregon, and about half of Idaho. It also includes British Columbia, Yukon and Tungsten in Canada and Baja California in Mexico. The Central time zone encompasses 10 whole states and 10 partial states, all or part of four Canadian provinces or territories, approximately three-quarters of Mexico and all of Guatemala, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.