Rectangular concrete-filled double steel tubular (CFDST) columns with inner circular steel tube possess higher structural performance than conventional concrete-filled steel tubular (CFST) columns. However, the local buckling of the outer steel tube of thin-walled rectangular CFDST columns has not been accounted for in the existing fiber element models and design codes that may overestimate the column ultimate axial strengths. This paper describes a computationally efficient fiber-based modeling technique developed for determining the behavior of concentrically-loaded rectangular CFDST short columns including the local buckling effects of the external steel tube and the confinement offered by the internal circular steel tube. The effective width concept is used to simulate the post-local buckling of the outer steel tube. Comparative studies are undertaken to verify the fiber-based model with the relevant test results. The computational model is then employed to investigate the axial load–strain responses of rectangular CFDST short columns with various key design variables. A design equation is developed for computing the ultimate axial loads of short rectangular CFDST columns and compared with design methods given in several international design codes. It is shown that the fiber-based modeling technique and the proposed design model predict well the structural performance of short CFDST columns.