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Is 2020 really a new decade, or does it actually begin in 2021?

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Posted at 11:58 AM, Dec 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-31 13:59:03-05

DENVER -- As we say goodbye to 2019 and welcome in 2020, one question that has sparked debate is whether 2020 is the start of a new decade. Some argue it doesn't start until 2021. So we talked to experts to weigh in.

“This is one of those questions that doesn’t have a simple answer,” said Mordecai-Mark Mac Low, Curator of Astrophysics at the Museum of Natural History.

That doesn't help much if that's what we're hearing from a scientist. Let's hear from the Farmers’ Almanac editor on his take.

“We'd like it all to start tomorrow, Jan. 1, 2020, but in reality it has to start Jan. 1 2021 — the reason being there was no Year Zero,” said Peter Geiger, a Farmers’ Almanac editor of 30 years.

That makes sense. But the confusion comes when looking at the numbers — which is a hard point to argue.

“There's no zero, so start at one, end on zero, that is the purest way of saying that's what the decade is,” Geiger added.

But an astrophysicist can offer an answer to make people a little more excited about the "'20s."

“There is the decade that we talk about, that’s defined linguistically the decade of the '20s, which will begin at the start of 2020 ... and end at the end of 2029,” Low said.

So what is really correct?

“I think it's a losing battle. People [are] out celebrating the decade. I've already heard the lists for the decade. That's OK with me,” Geiger said.

So as for celebrating...

“If you're celebrating this end of decade, go ahead and celebrate it,” Geiger said.

"You can party twice if you want. Once for the end of the linguistic decade and once for the end of the counting decade,” Low added.

A lot of people can get on board with that idea. Happy new decade!