Initially under Selangor jurisdiction, the district was split following the declaration of Kuala Lumpur as a Federal Territory in 1974. The township of Ampang is located in the Federal Territory side and is an eastern suburb of Kuala Lumpur. The district is now divided into two parts:
- Ampang, Selangor, the Selangor segment of Ampang, also known as Ampang Jaya.
- Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, the Kuala Lumpur segment of Ampang.
The district was adjacent to Cheras, Kuala Lumpur and north east of the Kuala Lumpur Central Business District.
In 1880 the face of the settlement was drastically altered when the British decided to move their capital of the Federated Malay States inland from Klang, and declared the neighbouring city of Kuala Lumpur to be the new capital. Malays are the largest ethnicity in the Ampang area with 52% of the total population, followed by those of Chinese ancestry at 28%. The smallest racial group is Indian at 20%.
The original kampongs (unimproved village structures) of the area were eventually replaced by brick buildings sporting tile roofs, of a standardized shop-house design. Plots were regulated with wider streets between them and "sanitary lanes" behind them. The streets and roads were surfaced with locally found laterite gravel.
Approximately 70% of the residents of Ampang have monthly salaries at or above RM3000 (Ringgit Malaysia), 10% have monthly salaries in the range of RM1000 to RM2999, with the remaining 20% earning RM1000 or less per month.
Ampang is the home of Ampang Puteri Medical Center, Gleneagles Intan Medical Centre, Great Eastern Mall, Flamingo Hotel, DePalma Hotel, TESCO shopping centre, Ampang Point Shopping Complex, the International School of Kuala Lumpur as well as several other private colleges and international schools.