2021 Census: 2.5 million people working from home on Census day
The 2021 Census was conducted at an unusual time with much of Australia’s eastern seaboard subject to COVID-19 restrictions.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics today launched 2021 Census data showing that of the 12 million people employed on Census day (10 August 2021), more than 20 per cent (2.5 million) worked from home.
People in eastern seaboard states were more likely to work from home than in the rest of the country, with 31 per cent (1.1 million people) of those employed working from home in New South Wales and 26 per cent (814,000 people) in Victoria. In the Northern Territory, 4 per cent (4,545 people) worked from home.
Dr David Gruen AO, Australian Statistician said, “The 2021 Census data released today provides fascinating insights into the working life of Australians during the pandemic”.
Across Australia, people employed in Internet Publishing and Broadcasting had the highest proportion of people working from home (72 per cent). In contrast, less than 5 per cent of people employed in hospitals reported working from home.
The Census revealed differences in working from home between capital cities and the rest of the state. One in four employed people living in capital cities reported working from home compared with one in eight outside capital cities.
COVID-19 is also associated with changes in occupations for people in Australia. 2021 Census data showed the number of people employed as Tourism and Travel Advisers more than halved since the last Census, while Delivery Drivers increased by more than 70 per cent.
Pandemic restrictions impacted hours worked for some people. The Census showed that almost 7 per cent (787,000) of employed people worked zero hours in the week before Census, compared to 3 per cent in the week before the 2016 Census. People working zero hours are not working for reasons such as taking leave or are unable to work due to lockdown or self-isolation.
Dr David Gruen said, “COVID-19 restrictions in New South Wales contributed to unprecedented results. For example, 15 per cent of people employed in the Construction industry in New South Wales worked zero hours. This contrasts to the rest of Australia, with 3 per cent of the people employed in Construction working zero hours”.
A high proportion of people employed in the Arts and Recreation Services industry worked zero hours in states impacted by restrictions. In this industry, 23 per cent of employed persons worked zero hours in New South Wales, 20 per cent in Queensland and 14 per cent in Victoria, compared to 5 per cent in the rest of Australia.
“The 2021 Census will provide enduring value to researchers and policy makers by revealing how the COVID-19 pandemic changed life in Australia,” Dr Gruen added.
Total worked from home
Worked zero hours / away from work
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory
Accommodation and Food Services
Administrative and Support Services
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
Arts and Recreation Services
Education and Training
Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services
Financial and Insurance Services
Health Care and Social Assistance
Information Media and Telecommunications
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
Public Administration and Safety
Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services
Transport, Postal and Warehousing
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On Census day, we counted more than 2.5 million people working from home. One in four workers in capital cities were working from home, compared with one in eight people outside the capitals.
Both the Arts and Recreation Services and Construction industries saw a higher proportion of people working zero hours in those states that were affected by COVID-19 restrictions.
The number of people employed as Delivery Drivers increased by more than 70 per cent since the 2016 Census.