Why does Date.parse give incorrect results?

In JavaScript, the Date.parse() method is used to parse a string representation of a date and returns the number of milliseconds since January 1, 1970, 00:00:00 UTC. However, there are cases where Date.parse() can give incorrect results or unexpected behavior. One such case is when parsing dates in the format "yyyy-mm-dd".

Case One: Parsing "Jul 8, 2005"

Let's consider the first example: new Date(Date.parse("Jul 8, 2005"));

                new Date(Date.parse("Jul 8, 2005"));

The output of this code will be: Fri Jul 08 2005 00:00:00 GMT-0700 (PST)

In this case, the date is parsed correctly because the string "Jul 8, 2005" follows the expected format recognized by JavaScript's Date.parse() method. It is in a format that JavaScript recognizes as a valid date string.

Case Two: Parsing "2005-07-08"

Now let's consider the second example: new Date(Date.parse("2005-07-08"));

                new Date(Date.parse("2005-07-08"));

The output of this code will be: Thu Jul 07 2005 17:00:00 GMT-0700 (PST)

In this case, the date is parsed incorrectly. The reason for this is that the string "2005-07-08" is not in a format that JavaScript's Date.parse() method expects. Instead of treating it as a date in local time, JavaScript treats it as a date in UTC (Coordinated Universal Time).

The UTC Timezone Offset

This unexpected behavior of Date.parse() is due to the UTC timezone offset. In the second example, "2005-07-08" is being interpreted as a date in UTC. When the parsed date is returned, it is adjusted to the local timezone, resulting in an incorrect date.

Solution: Using a Custom Parser

To solve this issue, one solution is to create a custom parser that can handle date strings in the "yyyy-mm-dd" format in the local timezone. Here's an example of how this can be done:

                function parseDate(dateString) {
                    var dateParts = dateString.split('-');
                    // The JavaScript Date object subtracts one from the month, so we need to subtract one here
                    var month = parseInt(dateParts[1]) - 1;
                    var date = parseInt(dateParts[2]);
                    var year = parseInt(dateParts[0]);
                    return new Date(year, month, date);
                var inputDate = "2005-07-08";
                var parsedDate = parseDate(inputDate);

In this example, we split the date string into its respective parts using the '-' delimiter. Then, we parse the parts into integers and create a new Date object using the Date() constructor with the year, month, and date values. This will ensure that the date is interpreted correctly in the local timezone.


In conclusion, the Date.parse() method in JavaScript can give incorrect results when parsing dates in the "yyyy-mm-dd" format. This is because the method treats the date as UTC by default and adjusts it to the local timezone. To overcome this issue, it is recommended to use a custom parser that handles the date string in the desired format and ensures the date is interpreted correctly in the local timezone.