Midrand was established as a municipality in 1981 (in an area known as Halfway House, after its position between Pretoria and Johannesburg), but ceased to be an independent town in the restructuring of local government that followed the end of apartheid in 1994. It was incorporated in the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality in 2000. It was made part of Region 2 and, as of 2006, when the number of regions were reduced to seven, it forms part of Region A of the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality.
Though no longer an independent town, the name Midrand is still in common use to denote the suburbs around the N1 highway north of the Jukskei River up to the border with City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality. (This portion of the N1 highway is also known as the Ben Schoeman Highway.) Suburbs that are generally regarded as being in Midrand include among others: Country View, Carlswald, Crowthorne, Glen Austin, Ivory Park, Halfway House, Halfway Gardens, Vorna Valley, Noordwyk, Randjesfontein, Blue Hills and Kyalami Agricultural Holdings.
In 2010, it was reported that the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality wished to annex Midrand from the City of Johannesburg, reportedly to boost its income, which was severely strained.
The city is relatively modern, having experienced much growth in the last decade. Many businesses have relocated there due to its proximity to good highway links and its location in the economic centre of Gauteng Province. Midrand's development has meant there is little break between the outskirts of Johannesburg and those of Pretoria.