The Pergidae show a Gondwanan distribution, with the majority of species occurring in South America and Australia, but no species known from Africa. They are the dominant family in Australia and, with the Tenthredinidae and Argidae, are one of the major families in the Neotropics.

Distribution map of Pergidae
World distribution of Pergidae with approximate number of species.

In the Australasian region, pergids occur in Australia (including Tasmania) and the islands of New Guinea and New Britain. The most northeastern records are Sulawesi and Indonesia with two species of Cladomacra described from Sulawesi. Only one introduced species (Phylacteophaga froggatti) occurs in New Zealand and New Caledonia but none are native to those countries.

In the Western Hemisphere pergids occur from southeastern Canada through the eastern United States south to the southern tip of South America (Magallanes Province, Chile), with their greatest diversity in the Neotropics. In the West Indies only several species of the genus Acordulecera are known from Montserrat, St. Kitts, St. Vincent, and Dominica. Only one genus, Acordulecera with several species, occur in Canada and the United States.

Of the 12 subfamilies, three, Pergulinae, Philomastiginae, and Perreyiinae, are common to both the Australasian and Neotropical regions but no genera are known to occur in both regions.