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Census of Population and Housing: Census dictionary
Reference period

Labour force

For Census purposes, the labour force includes people aged 15 years and over who:

  • work for payment or profit, or as an unpaid helper in a family business, during the week prior to Census Night
  • have a job from which they are on leave or otherwise temporarily absent
  • are on strike or stood down temporarily
  •  do not have a job but are actively looking for work and available to start work.

The following people are classified as being in the labour force:

  • employed people (i.e. the first three groups above)
  • unemployed people (i.e. the last group above).

People aged 15 years and over who are neither employed nor unemployed are classified as not in the labour force. This includes people who are retired, pensioners and people engaged solely in home duties (unpaid).

See also and Comparing the 2021 Census and the Labour Force Survey Labour force status (LFSP).


On Census day and the week preceding it, a number of regions across the country were in various stages of lockdown or experiencing other restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This may have affected the way people responded to the Census form, particularly where there were changes to the person's employment circumstances. Examples of the changes seen in the data included how people travelled to their place of work; how many people worked from home; and a greater number of people being temporarily stood down in the week before the Census. Guidance on how to correctly respond to the relevant questions was provided at the time on the Census website and within the Census online form.

See also the data use consideration sections in the variables in Income and Work and Transport.

Information on how the Census was run during COVID-19 is here

Lone parent

A lone parent is a person who has no spouse or partner usually resident in the household, and who forms a parent-child relationship with at least one child usually resident in the household. The child may be either dependent or non-dependent.

See also Relationship in household (RLHP).

Lone person household

A private dwelling, with only one person aged 15 years or over, is classified as a lone person household.

See also Household composition (HHCD). 

Long-term health condition(s)

Long-term health conditions are diagnosed by a doctor or nurse, last six months or longer and include health conditions that:

  • May recur from time to time, or
  • Are controlled by medication, or
  • Are in remission

See also Comparing ABS long-term health conditions data sources, Long-term health conditions and Type of long-term health condition (LTHP).

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