Historical accounts say that the town was named after Ghazi Malik, a Muslim ruler of 14th century. During the British Raj, Ghazipur developed as an important port town. Lord Cornwalis the governor General of India from 1738 to 1805 died here and there is a Mausoleum in his memory. Sayyeid Masood 'Ghazi' founded the city during the Tuglaq period.
According to the 2001 census report, Ghazipur had a population of 95,243 inhabitants. Males constitute 53% of the population and females constitute 47% of the population. In Ghazipur, 13% of the population is less than six years of age. Ghazipur has an average literacy rate of 69%, which is higher than the national average literacy rate of 59.5%. The male literacy rate is 76% and the female literacy rate is 62%.
Ghazipur is an important agricultural market in the district and has a flourishing handloom and perfume industry. It is also famous for its opium factory.