Imputation flag for place of work (IFPOWP)
This variable indicates if a person's place of work in the week before Census Night was imputed, and to what geographic level. Some people may provide an incomplete address for their place of work, and this flag indicates the geographic level at which imputation was then required. The address of the person’s workplace is coded to a Destination zone (DZN). Destination zones are co-designed with state and territory transport authorities.
People who have not provided enough information to have their place of work coded to a DZN will have this information imputed. Imputation is a statistical process for predicting values where no response was provided to a question and therefore a response could not be derived. The Imputation flag for place of work (IFPOWP) variable can be used to identify records whose place of work has been imputed. It provides information on the level of response a person provided to the question 'For the main job held last week, what was the person’s workplace address?'.
All persons aged 15 years and over who listed their employment status as ‘Employed’
|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|
Number of categories: 7
Not applicable (@) category comprises:
- Unemployed persons, looking for either full-time or part-time work
- Persons not in the labour force
- Persons with Labour force status (LFSP) not stated
- Persons aged under 15 years
See Understanding supplementary codes for more information.
Question(s) from the Census form
For the main job held last week, what was the employer’s business name?
For the main job held last week, what was the person’s workplace address?
How this variable is created
This is a derived variable created during Census processing to indicate whether place of work is imputed. Where an incomplete place of work address is given, place of work is imputed at different geography levels using the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS). This variable is coded based on what level the respondent’s place of work is imputed.
Respondents that provided partial or no information about their place of work will have a Place of work (POWP) DZN imputed to them. This is imputed based on the distribution of responses observed in the responding population. Depending on the level of imputation required, the following variables (where available) may be used in its method:
History and changes
A question on place of work was first asked in 1971 with similar questions having been asked in every Census since then. The POWP variable was used for the first time in the 2006 Census and replaced the Journey to Work variable which was used prior to that.
Data is available for DZN in TableBuilder Pro. Prior to 2011, DZN data was only available via customised request. DZN boundaries were updated for 2016 and the new IFPOWP variable was introduced.
For 2021 a new instruction has been added to the online form to help people who are in COVID-19 affected areas answer the place of work question. Additional instructions were also added to the Census website – see Data use considerations for more details.
Data use considerations
The non-response rate for Place of Work is not affected by persons who did not return a Census form because this variable is only applicable to persons with a labour force status of 'employed'. Persons who do not respond or have a labour force status of 'not stated' are not applicable to Place of Work.
Using the Imputation flag for Place of work (IFPOWP), the non-response rate for Place of work (POWP) was 11.1% in 2021. This is a increase from 10.0% in 2016. For more information on imputation, see Census Methodology.
A number of regions across the country were in various stages of lockdown on Census day, and the week preceding it, resulting in a greater number of people working from their homes. This may impact their responses for their place of work. Guidance on how to correctly respond was provided at the time on the Census website, as follows:
- For people who usually work from home, and did not have any other workplace, write the home address
- For people who are working from home temporarily due to COVID-19, write the workplace address they would normally be at.
Be aware that people may have put their home address as the workplace address despite instructions to put the regular work address if they were working from home during COVID-19 lockdown.
Comparability of Destination zones over time
DZN are not comparable across censuses due to changes to both the boundary and code structure.
POWP is a hierarchical classification, ranging from the broadest geographic level (Australia), to the finest level (DZN). The categories in this variable have changed to reflect the updated ASGS used for the 2021 Census. Data is also available for Local Government Areas to assist with time series comparison.
Journey to work information
Data for POWP, PURP and MTWP can be cross-classified to:
- examine movements of people to and from work
- analyse transport patterns
- assist in the planning for transport systems
- develop and release residential and commercial land.
Journey to work data is used by:
- transport authorities
- associated bodies
- other interested people.
It is important to note that the different variables for cross-classification represent different time frames and can produce outliers in the data due to a variety of reasons. Variables are listed below:
- POWP refers to a person’s workplace address last week
- PURP refers to where a person usually lives (which may or may not be where they were counted on Census Night)
- MTWP refers to how the person travelled to work on the day of the Census
Examples of how cross-classification can affect the data
|Example 1||Example 2|
|Scenario||A person spent the previous night in Brisbane with a friend and walked to work in Brisbane City. She then caught a train to her parent's place on the Gold Coast (which she also regarded as her usual place of residence) that evening when she was enumerated||A person mainly worked in Alice Springs in the week prior to the Census. However, the person moved to Sydney in the intervening week and took a ferry to their new place of employment|
|Area of enumeration||Gold Coast|
|Place of usual residence||Gold Coast||Manly|
|Place of work||Brisbane City|
|Method of transport to work||Walked Only||Ferry|
Related variables and glossary terms
- Place of work (POWP)
- Labour force status (LFSP)
- Place of usual residence (PURP)
- Industry of employment (INDP)
- Method of travel to work (MTWP)
- Destination zone