Rawang was the capital of Gombak until 1997.
Rawang has shown a tremendous growth since the PLUS North South Highway was opened on the mid-1990s. The population of Rawang stands at 120,447 according to the GeoNames geographical database. The district Magistrate subordinate Court and the District Police Headquarters were moved away to Selayang from Rawang in the 1990s. The only playing field in the center of Rawang Town was torn down to make way for more shop houses with a poorly planned and ever changing one-way traffic system. The town is devoid of any garbage bins in most parts of the town.
Kampung Sungai Terentang, in Rawang, is well known for an effort to resist TNB's forced evacuation of the village to build high-tension power cables. This issue is still on-going.
To reach the town centre, one must drive about 25 minutes (during non-peak hours) from Kuala Lumpur city centre. One can choose to take the Rawang Interchange EXIT 116 from the North-South Expressway, the Guthrie Corridor Expressway from Rawang South Interchange EXIT 115, the road from Batang Berjuntai, or the trunk road to Rawang.
On the trunk road, passengers are able to see Templer's Park, Hutan Lipur Sg. Kanching, and the Commonwealth Forest Park. These are all forest reserves and are hot spots for jungle trekking and camping. The trees along the roads at Templer's park has been cleared for the construction of more houses and the slopes are left bare with much erosion. Only a thin sliver of trees remain along the roads to give an perception that the previously vast forest reserve is being preserved. The trunk road from Templer's Park to Bandar Baru Selayang is now widened into a second lane but these roads are not lighted up with street lights and this is hazardous since there is a high volume of road traffic at dawn and nights
Prior to the opening of the SRJK(Ing) Rawang around 1964, Clifford Institute used to be the only English school available for students pursuing an English Education. There are several primary and secondary schools in this town now:
- Sekolah Rendah Sinaran Budi (Formerly SRJK (Inggeris) Rawang.
- Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (Cina) San Yuk 1
- Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (Cina) San Yuk 2 Cawangan
- Sekolah Kebangsaan Bandar Tasik Puteri
- Sekolah Kebangsaan Bandar Tasik Puteri 2
- Sekolah Rendah Agama Sungai Choh
- Sekolah Rendah Jenis (Cina) Kota Emerald
- Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (Tamil) Rawang
- SK Taman Desa 1
- SK Taman Desa 2
- SK Bukit Rawang Jaya
- SK Bandar Baru Rawang
- SK Rawang
- SK Tun Teja
- Sekolah Menengah Seri Garing (Formerly SMJK (Inggeris) Rawang
- Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Rawang Batu 16
- Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Bandar Tasik Puteri (SEMETRI)
- Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Taman Desa (1) Country Homes
- Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Taman Desa (2) Country Homes
- Sekolah Berasrama Penuh Integrasi Rawang
- Sekolah Menengah Agama Rawang (SAMER)
- Sekolah Menengah Tun Perak
Rawang is currently experiencing steep development. Many new shops and houses are being constructed. In 2006, a new central market was opened in Bandar Baru Rawang in order to meet the increasing demand from the population. Some of the major self-contained townships in Rawang include Bandar Tasik Puteri, Bandar Country Homes, Kota Emerald, Rawang Perdana and Saujana Rawang. There are number of shopping centers in Rawang which includes Tesco, Parkson,and Giant, NSK which opened in Feb 2012. A lifestyle shopping mall, Aeon Jusco was opened in 2012. The mall is spread over 3 stories. The anchor tenants are TGV cinemas, Daiso, Popular Bookstore and Polo Haus. Coffee shops such as Starbucks and McCafé have recently opened in Kota Emerald. Another latest development in Rawang is The Reef Business Center next to Tesco Rawang, among major tenant occupying this area are Maybank, Morinda Tahitian Noni, QB Worldwide and Ali Maju chain of restaurant.
The Rawang train station, which is located in the middle of the old town area, is a major stop for KTM Intercity trains, notably Ekspres Langkawi. It is also the northern terminus for the Rawang-Seremban line on the KTM Komuter, which is also served by the Rawang-Kuala Kubu Bharu Shuttle Route. A new and much bigger bus station located in the heart of the new town area was completed recently. The access from Rawang Town towards Country Homes and to the PLUS Highway is usually congested with several areas converging from three lanes to one lane. This causes massive traffic jams in the mornings and evenings daily. The traffic light and the road widening projects proposed at the junction leading to Lafarge Cement Factory a very busy area, has not taken off for over a decade now. The overhead pass being built at the PLUS/Country Homes junction too has been way behind schedule and progress has been extremely slow. The congested roads here had previously caused a slump in house prices in Country Homes.