This seems to hold true for many major cities: New York, London, Paris, Helsinki, Toronto, and many others. One theory suggests that…”In the middle latitudes where most of the world’s cities can be found, the prevailing winds are westerlies, which means they blow to the east.” This means that smoke, odors and air pollution all blow to the East, causing affluent citizens to reside in other neighborhoods.
Researchers built simulations of… “70 British cities, including the sites of 5,000 industrial chimneys, as they would have been in 1880. Using mathematical models they claim to have been able to reconstruct the movement of air within the given topography and work out where the pollution would end up. They concluded that areas of high pollution were indeed more likely to become deprived areas, and found that they were generally in the east.”
Other factors such as altitudes and water bodies which are also to be taken into account when analyzing geographic influence on the economy.
Source: The Guardian