Difference Between Unicameral and Bicameral Legislature

Main Difference – Unicameral vs Bicameral Legislature 

Unicameral and Bicameral Legislatures are two types of governments. The main difference between unicameral and bicameral legislature is that unicameral legislature consists of one house of parliament whereas bicameral legislature consists of two chambers or houses of parliament.

What is Unicameral Legislature

Unicameral legislature or unicameralism is the practice of having only one parliamentary or legislative chamber. At present, about half of the world’s sovereign states are unicameral. China, Vatican, Sri Lanka, Hungary, Iran, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Turkey, etc. are examples of countries that have a unicameral legislature. The main advantage of having a unicameral legislature is that it is the most effective of the legislatures because the legislative procedure is simpler since there are no gridlocks or deadlocks. Since a single chamber government can be run by fewer representatives, and with fewer resources, it saves a lot of money.

However, there are disadvantages of unicameralism as well. The main purpose of multicamera legislatures is the fair representation of the different sectors of the society. This purpose is not fulfilled in unicameralism.

Difference Between Unicameral and Bicameral Legislature

Blue – Nations with bicameral legislatures.
Orange – Nations with unicameral legislatures.
Black – No legislature

What is Bicameral Legislature

Bicameral legislature or bicameralism is a system where there are two separate assemblies, houses or chambers. Countries like United States, United Kingdom, France, Canada, Italy, Spain, Japan, etc. have bicameral legislatures.

The manner in which the members are selected to each house is different from country to country. In the United States, the two houses are called the Senate and the Congress. In the United Kingdom, the upper house is called the House of Lords, and the lower house is called the House of Commons.

The main intention of creating bicameral legislature is to give distinct voices to separate sectors of the society. This system represents all social groups fairly. However, since there are two chambers, the lawmaking may not be efficient as in the case of unicameral legislature. Bicameral legislature may take a long time to pass a law since it needs to be approved by both the councils. In addition, a lot of resources, money have to be used to maintain this kind of legislature.

Difference Between Unicameral and Bicameral Legislature 


Unicameral Legislature has only one chamber, house or assembly.

Bicameral Legislature has two chambers, houses or assemblies.


Unicameral Legislature is practiced in China, Vatican, Hungary, Iran, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, etc.

Bicameral Legislature is practiced in United States, United Kingdom, France, Canada, Italy, etc.


Unicameral Legislature is more efficient in passing laws.

Bicameral Legislature is not as efficient as the unicameral legislature in passing laws.


Unicameral Legislature may not represent different segments of the society fairly.

Bicameral Legislature represents different segments of the society fairly.Difference Between Unicameral and Bicameral Legislature - infographic

Image Courtesy:

By Katsaris –-Contributions derivative work:   Cerveaugenie – Unibicameral_Map.png via

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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