Selecting geographies not nested or similar

The basic hierarchical organization of census geographies is as follows: Nation > States > Counties > County Subdivisions > Census Tracts > Block Groups > Blocks, with each level nested completely within its predecessor.

Hence, you may not see the option to select sub-geographies, like census tracts or census blocks, if you've chosen a census place as your geography while creating reports from the map or a mask. Census tracts and census blocks, for example, are nested within states/counties/county subdivisions, not census places. 

However, where there's a will, there's a way! Use our annotation tool on Social Explorer to keep the boundaries of your selected geography highlighted while creating a report or a mask, making it easy for you to select the sub-geographies that fall within those boundaries.

Please note that some census tracts or census blocks may spill over since these are not traditionally nested within geographies such as a census place.

Follow the steps outlined in this guide to create a report from the map or a mask for geographies not nested within the basic hierarchical organization of census geographies or which may be dissimilar.

In this example, we'll show you how to create a report from a map. You can follow the same steps while using the masking tool as well. 

How to select geographies not nested or similar in a report

  1. Firstly, note that you can directly save your search results as annotations on Social Explorer maps. Type in your location of interest into the search box in the upper left corner of the screen, select an entry, and you will be immediately presented with the “Add as annotation” option for your search result.

  2. Click on "Add as annotation". Doing so will highlight the boundaries of your selected geography on the map. In this case, we've chosen the census place, Greenville, South Carolina.

  3. In the Change data menu, click the  icon for More options.
  4. Then, click Create report from the menu.

  5. In the popup next to the Create a report panel, select the geography level you're interested in.

  6. Choose any of the geography selection tools to select your desired geographies. We'll go ahead and use the point selection tool to select census tracts that fall within the boundaries of our annotated census place.

  7. Next, you can either choose one of our premade reports or create a report for whichever dataset you were currently visualizing on the map. Click Create.

To learn more about our annotation tool, refer to this guide. Click on the highlighted words for detailed guides on how to create reports from a map or an in-depth guide to using our masking tool. Here's more on using the geography selection toolbox.

Want to learn more about census geographies on Social Explorer? Get started here.