Between 1974 and 1983 the electoral wards used in the creation of Dundee East were altered again, to comprise Broughty Ferry, Caird, Craigie, Douglas, Harbour and Hilltown. For the period from 1983 to 1997, this altered to the whole of electoral divisions 11 - 20 of the City of Dundee, whilst the period from 1997 to 2005 this changed to the whole of ward 7, parts of wards 4-6 and 8.
Prior to the 2005 election, both constituencies were entirely within the city area, and north-eastern and north-western areas of the city were within the Angus constituency. Scottish Parliament constituencies retain the older boundaries.
The electoral boundaries used from 2005 comprise either the whole or part of the electoral wards of Monifieth and Sidlaw, Carnoustie and District, The Ferry, East End, North East, Maryfield, Strathmartine, and an uninhabited slice of Kirriemuir and Dean ward.
The Dundee East constituency has been a marginal seat between the SNP and Labour since the 1973 byelection. Although Labour won the seat in that by-election, the SNP established itself as the clear challenger and continued to advance, winning the seat in the next general election. Labour were thought to have underperformed in not winning the seat back in the 1979 general election, and the choice of the former CommunistJimmy Reid as Labour candidate was blamed for the loss.