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Place of Work (POWP) / Imputation flag for Place of Work (IFPOWP)
This variable records the geographic area in which a person worked in the week before Census night. This variable is applicable to all persons aged 15 years or older who listed their employment status as 'employed'.
Place of Work is a person variable which is determined from written responses to the 'Business name' and 'Workplace address' questions. Images of these questions are provided below.
Responses are coded to units of geography known as Destination Zones (DZNs). Destination Zone boundaries for 2016 have been designed by the ABS following consultation with each State and Territory Transport Authority (STAs), and cover all of Australia. Destination Zones are aggregates of whole Mesh Blocks (though data is not coded to the Mesh Block level), and aggregate to Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2s). Due to the hierarchical nature of the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS), place of work data is also available at the Statistical Area Level 3 (SA3), Statistical Area Level 4 (SA4), State/Territory and Greater Capital City Statistical Area levels. Although DZNs do not fit neatly into Local Government Area (LGA) boundaries, a DZN to LGA correspondence was created to allow data to also be released at LGA level. This data is available on request.
Imputation Flag for Place of Work variable categories are shown below.
1 Workplace address not imputed
2 Workplace address imputed - SA2 stated
3 Workplace address imputed - Capital city stated
4 Workplace address imputed - State/territory stated
5 Workplace address imputed - Not stated
@ Not applicable
V Overseas visitor
More information about imputation can be found in the 2016 Census Dictionary.
This question was first asked in the 1971 Census. Similar questions have been asked in every Census since then. The Place of Work variable was used for the first time in the 2006 Census and replaced the Journey to Work variable which was used prior to that.
Unlike some other Census variables, the non-response rate is not affected by persons imputed into dwellings that did not return a Census Form, as Place of Work is only applicable for persons with a labour force status of 'employed'. Where a respondent provided a response to the 'Business name' question but not the 'Workplace address' question, this was not considered to be 'non-response'.
Using the Imputation Flag for Place of Work, the non-response rate for this variable was 5.1% in 2016 (2.5% in 2011). For more information, refer to Understanding Census data quality.
Data usage notes
Comparability of Destination Zones over time
Destination Zones are not necessarily comparable across Censuses, due to significant changes to both the boundary and code structure.
While data for LGAs is available for both 2016 and 2011, there may have been changes to LGA boundaries between 2016 and 2011 which need to be taken into account. More information is available in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 3 - Non ABS Structures, July 2016.
In 2016, coding indexes were supplied by the ABS based on indexes used for other geographic topics in the Census, supplemented with other information from the State Transport Authority (such as lists of businesses and properties). This was the same approach taken as in 2011, but differed from previous Censuses, where the coding indexes were wholly supplied by the State Transport Authority.
Journey to Work information
Data for Place of Work, Place of Usual Residence and Method of Travel to Work can be cross-classified to examine movements of people to and from work, to analyse transport patterns and assist in the planning for transport systems. However, the Place of Work data question refers to a person's workplace address 'last' week; Place of Usual Residence refers to where a person usually lives (which may or may not be where they were counted on Census night); and Method of Travel to Work asks where the person travelled to work on the day of the Census. This difference of timeframes can produce outliers in the data due to a variety of legitimate reasons.
A definition of Place of Work is available in the 2016 Census Dictionary.
A definition of Imputation Flag for Place of Work is available in the 2016 Census Dictionary.
For information related to Place of Work, see data quality statements for Method of Travel to Work and Place of Usual Residence, which can be used to in conjunction with the Place of Work variable to provide Journey to Work data.
Household form question image
Question 40 and 41 as it appeared on the 2016 Census Household Paper Form:
A text only version of the online Census Household form is available from the Downloads tab.
These documents will be presented in a new window.
2900.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Understanding the Census and Census Data, Australia , 2016
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