Based on a census of the literature, herbaria specimens, and confirmed sightings, C. pensylvanica is found in Manitoba Ontario and Quebec in Canada; and in the United States it is most widely distributed in Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, mainland Rhode Island, Virginia and Wisconsin. it is also known from northern Alabama, the western Carolinas, the mostly eastern Dakotas, northern and southern Delaware, northern Georgia, western Iowa, mostly northern Indiana, northern and eastern Missouri, mostly central and eastern Ohio, and mostly central Tennessee. It is also found in Arkansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland and the District of Columbia, New York, West Virginia, and Vermont. It has been reported from just one county, Lee, in the far northeastern portion of the state of Mississippi.
- C. pensylvanica was first described and published in Encyclopedie Methodique. Botanique ... (Lamarck) 3(2): 388. 1792. Paris. "Plant Name Details for Carex pensylvanica". IPNI. Retrieved August 22, 2010.
- "Profile for Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)". PLANTS Database. USDA, NRCS. Retrieved February 7, 2010.
- Dr. John Hilty (April 7, 2010). "Pennsylvania Sedge (Carex pensylvania)". Illinois Wildflowers. Urbana, Illinois. Retrieved August 22, 2010.