What is Unicameral?

Meaning and definition of unicameral: The adjective "unicameral" describes a legislative system that only has one legislative chamber or house. In a unicameral legislature, all legislative functions, including the drafting, debate, and passage of laws, are handled within this single chamber. This structure contrasts with a bicameral system, which divides these responsibilities between two separate chambers, typically an upper and a lower house.

Unicameral legislatures are often found in countries with unitary systems of government. However, they can also exist in federal systems. In the United States, only one state, Nebraska, has a unicameral legislature.

Supporters of unicameralism argue that it offers several advantages, including greater efficiency, reduced costs, and a simplified legislative process. Critics, however, raise concerns that unicameral systems may lack sufficient checks and balances. They argue that a second chamber provides an essential mechanism for reviewing and refining legislation, ensuring better representation of diverse interests.


Explore free resources for civics education

Become a more informed citizen and get involved in your community
Frame 30 (1)