U.S. women's age at first birth has increased substantially. Yet, little research has considered how this changing behavior may have affected the motherhood pay penalty, or the wage decrease with a child's arrival, experienced by the current generation. Using Rounds 1–19 of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (NLSY97), in this research note we examine shifts in hourly pay with childbirth for a cohort of women who became mothers mostly in the 2000s and 2010s. Results from fixed-effects models indicate that the motherhood pay penalty for NLSY97 women who had their first child before their late 20s is generally similar to that of previous cohorts. Those who became mothers near or after age 30, however, encounter a parenthood premium, as men do. The growing proportion of women delaying motherhood, coupled with the rising heterogeneity in motherhood wage outcomes by childbearing timing, contributes to a comparatively small motherhood penalty for this recent cohort. The pay advantage of “late mothers” cannot be explained by factors such as their labor market locations, number of children, stage of childrearing, marital status, or ethnoracial composition. Instead, the hourly gain stems from such mothers’ tendency to reduce working hours more than other mothers without experiencing a commensurate decrease in total pay. Unlike the fatherhood premium, the premium for late mothers does not lead to a real boost in income.

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