Some 46 million Americans live in poverty. But there is sharp disagreement about what that means. Wheeling, West. Va., once bustling with iron and steel manufacturing, is shown here with quiet streets. An array of people who live below the poverty line in Wheeling show the sharp disparities in the definition of poverty. Ann Hermes/Staff
Linda Criswell brings home only $1,000 a month from her day-care job in Wheeling, W.Va., so her son helps her by paying for her dog Gunner’s food. Ann Hermes/Staff
Missy Nash and her daughter, Amelia, spent a short time at a homeless shelter before qualifying for this new subsidized apartment in Wheeling. Ann Hermes/Staff
Kacey Orr with her chicken named Pocahontas outside the chicken coop at her family home in Wheeling. Ms. Orr gave up a salon business to become a farmer on her grandfather’s land. Ann Hermes/Staff
Linda Criswell can barely make house payments on her day-care paycheck. Ann Hermes/Staff
Missy Nash and her daughter, Amelia, look at a book after Ms. Nash returns home from a day of work and classes. Ann Hermes/Staff
Kacey Orr cooks jam in her kitchen from hot peppers she picked in her garden. Orr will sell the jams at the local farmer's market as well as local fairs and festivals to supplement her income. Ann Hermes/Staff
Wheeling Island on the Ohio River, a center of the declining iron and steel industry. Ann Hermes/Staff
Wheeling residents walk home after work. Ann Hermes/Staff
House of Carpenter employee Crystal Law helps Bernard H. Walton choose supplies at the center's food pantry. House of Carpenter updated the food pantry over a year ago, bringing in fresh produce and meat for the local community. Ann Hermes/Staff
William Yocum lives in Bridgeport, Ohio, and rides his bike to a nearby Wheeling, W.Va., food pantry to pick up food. Ann Hermes/Staff
Volunteer Kenny Fortney packs groceries at the House of Carpenter food pantry in Wheeling. Ann Hermes/Staff
Ed and Roberta Campbell, crossing the Wheeling Suspension Bridge, have seen a steady decline in jobs in the area since Mr. Campbell’s retirement from a power plant job several years ago. Ann Hermes/Staff
A Monitor correspondent, who grew up in West Virginia, discusses the poverty she's seen firsthand while working as a journalist in Africa.
ByJina Moore, Correspondent
When New Yorkers find out I grew up in West Virginia, they often ask if I've read "The Glass Castle." Jeannette Walls's memoir, on The New York Times bestseller list for an absurd 288 weeks now, is about growing up poor. At one point she lived in Welch, W.Va., where her house leaks and freezes, where she makes her lunch out of sandwiches kids throw away in the bathroom at school – and some days that's all she eats.