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Does the decade end in 2019 or in 2020?

Business and design concept - surreal abstract geometric floating wooden cube with word " 2020 & 2019 " concept on wood floor and white background

As we approach the end of 2019, many claims that the 2010 decade ends in 2019, while others argue that it only ends in 2020. According to this site there are two reasons:

The decade ends in 2020 – Those who defend this position are based on the fact that there was no year 0. In addition, they use the rule commonly learned in school to count the centuries, ie take the year in question, excluding those of recent years and sum 1, except for the year ending in 00, then it does not add 1.This exception for years ending in 0 is based on the fact that there was no year 0 and the year count starts at 1. Following this logic, yes – the 2020s start in 2021.

The decade comes to an end in 2019 – Those who argue that the decade now ends with the end of 2019 choose to follow a cultural convention that covers the years with the decade in their name, in other words the 1990s began in 1990, the 00s in 2000 and the 10 years in 2010.

The truth is that there was never a year 0 and the calculation of the centuries starts from this principle to calculate the current century. However, this rule is not valid for the decade and the reason is simple: the decades are not counted as a sequence, starting with year 1. So we can say that the years 2010 really end in 2019.

  • When does the decade end?

    • 2019
    • 2020
    • Never thought about it

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What do you think?

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Written by nela13

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  1. you’ve sparked a great debate. The reality is both philosophical and mathematical. If we take the factual mathematical look at this, the date is 2020 for the ending of the decade. 2021 starts the new decade mathematically.

    If we take the round number view, sometimes called the poets or philosophers view, then based on the round number the decade ends at the end of 2019.

    Funny things is, neither side changes the ticking clock.

  2. There is no question about it. The new decade will start on 1st January 2021, for the reason that you state – you count to 10 beginning with one, not zero.

    It is exactly the same as counting centuries or millennia – hence the current century and millennium began in 2001, not 2000.

    The Victorians did not make this mistake – read any newspaper from the turn of the century from 19th to 20th, and you will not find any that thought it started in 1900 – only in 1901.

    However, it is perfectly acceptable to talk about the “twenties” beginning in 2020 and ending in 2029, but this does not imply that decades follow names, only numbers, because that is what the word “decade” means – it is a numerical term.

    You could, of course, say that any sequence of ten years, beginning where you like, was a decade, just as any group of four people selected from a line of people could be a quartet!

      • I get that there was no year 0 because it went from 1 BC to 1 AD, but that actual birth was the starting point. It starts with zero, but the year was skipped, so the decades start with zero due to that calendar error.

        • An interesting theory! However, nobody knows when Jesus was born and the date was based on a calculation made by a monk some hundreds of years after the supposed event.

          Even if your idea is correct, that does not explain why it has only been adopted relatively recently – nobody thought this 100 years ago.

          • Actually, we do know around what time he was born based upon the historical account from the Antiquities by Josephus. King Herod made a command to kill all children in Judaea that were two years old and under. Even King Herod knew and he was one of the most maniacal tyrants of all time. Basically, that monk denied the birth of Christ to take out the zero year. Thus, a decade is from 0 to 9.

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