Income and work: Census

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Information on income, occupation and employment

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First release

Key statistics

  • 7 million people (7,095,103) were working full-time and 4 million people (3,962,550) were working part-time in the week before the Census.
  • The median hours worked in Australia was 38 hours per week.
  • Health Care and Social Assistance was the largest employing industry in Australia (14.5 per cent of the workforce), followed by Retail Trade (9.1 per cent) and Construction (8.9 per cent).
  • The top three reported occupations were Sales Assistants (General) (514,084), Registered Nurses (262,742) and General Clerks (244,849).
  • The national median personal income was $805 per week. This was a $143 increase since 2016. This included the adult population from 15 years to over 85 years, including those who are unemployed or retired.
  • There were over 9.6 million people earning below the national median personal income or earning no income.

Median weekly household income

State	Median household income per week NT	2,061 QLD	1,675 WA	1,815 SA	1,455 VIC	1,759 TAS	1,358 ACT	2,373 NSW	1,829

Median weekly household income

The image shows a map of Australia displaying the median household income for each state and territory. WA $1,815, NT $2,061, QLD $1,675, NSW $1,829, ACT $2,373, TAS $1,358, VIC $1,759, SA $1,455

Based on place of enumeration. Excludes visitor only and other non-classifiable households.

Source: Total household income (weekly) (HIND)

Total personal income (weekly) by state and territory(a), 2021 Census
 Median incomeNegative incomeNil income$1-$149 $150-$299 $300-$399 $400-$499 $500-$649 $650-$799 $800-$999 $1,000-$1,249 $1,250-$1,499 $1,500-$1,749 $1,750-$1,999 $2,000-$2,999 $3,000 or more 
New South Wales81348,024558,019199,715301,947497,863497,263472,795 453,482518,187580,866436,915379,950289,392519,595373,538
South Australia7349,293103,72150,77681,493131,617135,058121,526111,354128,716141,776101,07982,84958,08687,38647,071
Western Australia84814,775175,78974,433106,129153,779149,720146,826135,161155,856182,352143,853132,068100,717190,276127,181
Northern Territory9361,31911,1696,75115,30811,0249,4858,9238,73712,17616,33913,79313,0959,73416,841 7,360
Australian Capital Territory1,2031,23824,75111,40813,36315,65517,86319,28519,89526,16133,17330,99231,82725,57953,01829,121

Please note that there are small random adjustments made to all cell values to protect the confidentiality of data. These adjustments may cause the sum of rows or columns to differ by small amounts from table totals.

  1. Count of persons aged 15 years and over. Based on place of usual residence. Excludes overseas visitors.
  2. Includes Other Territories.

Source: Total personal income (weekly) (INCP)

Census data stories and concepts

How Census data is used

Learn how Census data helps community groups, businesses and governments make important decisions.

Census data informs planning for mining fly-in fly-out facilities

Global market research and consulting company Frost & Sullivan used Census data to inform how organisations provide services to fly-in fly-out workers. Census data helped it estimate the total size of the facilities management market in remote areas of Australia.

Mark Dougan, Head of Frost & Sullivan Australia and New Zealand, said the credibility of the data it uses for research is critical and Census data is a key contributor.

“With high quality data, we can help make clients and markets more efficient and informed. That comes from the highest possible completion rate for the Census and highest levels of accuracy,” Mr Dougan said.

“We looked at mining sites for fly-in fly-out workers. The camps in these sites are often run by third-party organisations that contract out cleaning, catering and maintenance.

“We knew what the daily charge per resident would be to cover these costs. We also needed to find out how many workers would be staying in the camps across remote Australia at any one time.”

Census data provided the number of individuals staying in company-provided accommodation in remote areas on the night of the Census.

“This told us there were about 70,000 individuals using these services, which we then used to calculate the value of the facilities management market.”

Frost & Sullivan provides insights to help businesses plan and grow. The company analyses data to help its clients make strategic decisions to innovate or enter new markets.

By providing analysis of the fly-in fly-out market, Frost & Sullivan has assisted facility management companies to plan, budget and be more competitive.

“Census data adds credibility and enables better informed decisions to be made across a broad spectrum,” said Mr Dougan.

See more Census stories.

Key questions in 2021 Census

  • What is the total of all income the person usually receives? 
  • Last week, did the person have a job of any kind? 
  • In the main job held last week, was the person: (Working for an employer; Working in own business)? 
  • Was the person's business (Unincorporated; Incorporated)?
  • Does the person’s business employ people? 
  • In the main job held last week, what was the person's occupation? 
  • What are the main tasks that the person usually performs in that occupation?
  • For the main job held last week, what was the employer’s business name?
  • What best describes the industry or business of the employer at the location where the person works? 
  • What are the main goods produced or main services provided by the employer’s business?
  • For the main job held last week, what was the person’s workplace address?
  • Last week, how many hours did the person work in all jobs? 
  • Did the person actively look for work at any time in the last four weeks?
  • If the person had found a job, could the person have started work last week?

The questions from the 2021 Census are output into variables. To see descriptions of the variables, including data use considerations, relevant to this topic see the 2021 Census dictionary: Income and work.

Data downloads

Data table for Income and work data summary

Other relevant data downloads can be found on the following pages:

Snapshot of Australia

  • Total personal income (weekly) by state and territory of usual residence - 2016, 2021

Other ABS links

To access more 2021 Census data, see Search Census data or to build your own data sets, see Census data tools.

Explore other ABS data: 

Post release changes

12/10/2022 - Key statistics updated with information on employment and occupation. Income and work data summary download file amended to include second release data tables. 

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