Which Administrative Division Levels Should I Use?

In DevResults, Administrative Divisions refer to areas on a map, represented by shapes. These generally include the national borders of the country/countries for your site, and may include several additional layers of smaller, nested administrative divisions within a country (such as provinces, districts, departments, municipalities, etc.). Each type of shape (like country, district, region, etc.) is an Administrative Division Level.

When creating your DevResults site, which admin division levels should be included? The short answer is: it depends. We have a few general rules of thumb.

You can also read more about geographies in DevResults

Single-country DevResults sites

Single-country DevResults sites typically include a country's national boundary and one or more sets of subdivisions, so a typical site might include three admin division levels like "Country, Province, District". 

Imagine that your country is divided into municipalities. Should you include municipalities in your site? 

  • If you never report or view data by municipality, then you do not need to include municipalities in your site.
  • If you do report or view data by municipality, then you need to choose whether to represent municipalities as administrative divisions (shapes on a map) or locations (points on a map). 
    • If you report data for geographic places that are more specific than municipality (such as for individual cities, towns, villages, schools, hospitals, households, farms, etc.) and want to group results for these places by municipality, then you do need to include municipality as an admin division level in your site. 
    • If you do not, then inclusion of municipalities is optional. General guidelines: 
      • Consider including municipalities if:
        • It's important to see the municipality area on a map
        • The municipalities have stable boundaries across many years
        • You report/view data in most municipalities
      • Consider using locations instead of administrative divisions to represent municipalities if:
        • Municipalities change frequently, such as if political maps are updated every few years
        • There are hundreds of thousands of municipalities and they have complex borders/coastlines. This information impact the performance of map and dashboard pages, so if you don't need it, don't include it. You could instead use locations to represent any municipalities where you work, which would show data associated with points on a map.

If you're not sure about the answer to these questions keep it simple to start with. New admin division levels can be added later. 

Multi-country DevResults sites

Multi-country DevResults sites might be made up of all the countries in a region, a portion of countries across regions/continents, or the whole world. A typical site might include four admin division levels like "World, Region, Country, Subnational."

Should you include a region level between world and country?

  • If you never report or view data by multi-country regions, then you do not need to include this admin division level in your site.
  • If you report data by multi-country regions, or want to easily aggregate national-level indicators by region, then you do need to include the region level in your site. 
  • Admin division levels are fully customizable. You could include multiple levels of multi-country regions, such as if you wanted to be able to enter/aggregate/view data for districts in Ghana, a national total for Ghana, a total for Sub-Saharan Africa, for all of Africa, and a global total. This site might have the admin division levels "World, Region, Sub-Region, Country, Subnational."

How do subnational admin division levels work in a multi-country site? 

  • Admin division levels can only have one name. So a level cannot be called "state" for one country and "province" for another. We recommend naming the admin division level something like "subnational". If you need to capture multiple hierarchical levels of subnational admin divisions, like districts that roll up to states, then we recommend naming them something like "subnational 1, subnational 2". 
  • Consider a site that includes Mexico, where its primary administrative division is "state", and Afghanistan, where its primary administrative division is "province". If an indicator is reported with a geographic disaggregation of "subnational 1", then users would enter indicator results for a list of states in Mexico and a list of provinces in Afghanistan. 
  • Which subnational levels should be included? The same logic applies as for single country sites
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