Latest release
Census of Population and Housing: Census dictionary
Reference period


Persons in employment are those of working age who, during a short reference period, were engaged in any activity to produce goods or provide services for pay or profit. Employment is defined as an activity of one hour or more. 

See also Public/private sector (GNGP), Hours worked (HRSP), Labour force status (LFSP), Occupation (OCCP) and Part-time work.

Employed, away from work

The 'employed away from work' category refers to people who responded that they had a job in the week before the Census, but were away from work on holidays, on paid leave, on strike, or temporarily stood down. It also includes those who stated that they worked in the previous week but did not provide the number of hours worked. Extra guidance was given in the online form for those who weren't working due to COVID-19 restrictions.

See also Labour force status (LFSP).


An employee is a person who works for a public or private employer and receives remuneration in wages or salary; or is paid a retainer fee by their employer, while working on a commission basis; or works for an employer for tips, piece-rates or payment in kind.

See also Public/private sector (GNGP), Hours worked (HRSP), Labour force status (LFSP), Occupation (OCCP) and Status in employment (SIEMP).


Enumeration is the action of counting something. The Census enumerates (or counts) everyone in Australia on Census Night, as well as all the dwellings. 

See also Place of enumeration.

Estimated Resident Population (ERP)

The Estimated Resident Population (ERP) is the official measure of the population of Australia, and is based on the concept of usual residence. It refers to all people, regardless of nationality, citizenship or legal status, who usually live in Australia, with the exception of foreign diplomatic personnel and their families. The ERP includes usual residents who are overseas for less than 12 months and excludes overseas visitors who are in Australia for less than 12 months.

More information on the ERP can be found in the ABS publication National state and territory population, produced quarterly. ERPs for SA2s, LGAs and selected non-ABS structures are published annually in Regional population. More information on demographic publications is available under Population on the ABS website.

See also Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS), Census counts, Place of enumeration, Place of usual residence (PURP).


A number of variables used in the 2021 Census may provide information about ethnic origin. These variables may be cross-classified by sex or other related variables.

See also Ancestry (ANCP), Country of birth of person (BPLP), Country of birth of parents (BPPP), Indigenous status (INGP), Language used at home (LANP), Proficiency in spoken English (ENGLP), Religious affiliation (RELP) and Year of arrival in Australia (YARP).

Back to top of the page