Doraville first incorporated in 1871. The city is home to one of the largest Asian immigrant communities in the country, and since 1992, with the extension of the MARTA, it has attracted a number of urban professionals and their families.
Until the 1940s, Doraville primarily focused on agriculture, but following World War II, a main railroad line developed the region and drew a General Motors assembly plant to the city. The plant operated until 2009, when the Great Recession forced its closing. Residents plan to turn the plant into a community center as the economy improves.