Malapportionment and Amendment Procedures Around the World

Other countries have malapportioned upper chambers of the legislature. They also have supermajoritarian amendment procedures which protect the representational design of those upper chambers. If they did not have such procedures, then their upper chambers would have been reformed already.

Citizens in these countries are distributed among the states (provinces, cantons, etc.) in a manner similar to the U.S.: a majority of citizens live in large states and are underrepresented, while a strong majority of states are small. An amendment provision as simple as requiring that a majority of states or cantons must approve, as Australia and Switzerland have, seems to be enough to prevent reform.

Country Upper Chamber
Most Over-
Most Under-
USA 2 senators per state Wyoming
(1 per 290,000
(1 per 19 million),
D.C. and territories
2/3 of each house and
3/4 of state legislatures
(most common),
unanimous state consent
regarding changing the Senate
Argentina 3 per province Tierra del Fuego
(1 per 40,000)
Buenos Aires
(1 per 5 million)
2/3 of each house
Brazil 3 per state Roraima
(1 per 150,000)
Sao Paulo
(1 per 14 million)
1/3 of House or Senate
or 1/2 of states,
then 3/5 of both houses
Germany 3-6 per state Bremen
(1 per 220,000)
North Rhine-Westphalia
(1 per 3 million)
2/3 of both houses
Switzerland 2 per canton,
1 for small cantons
(1 per 15,000)
(1 per 700,000)
a majority of people and
a majority of cantons
Australia 12 per state,
2 per territory
(1 per 43,000)
New South Wales
(1 per 600,000)
a majority of people and
a majority of people
in a majority of states
Mexico 3 per state (96)
plus 32 at-large
(1 per 220,000)
(1 per 5 million)
2/3 of Congress,
a majority of state legislatures

Here are selected countries without powerful malapportioned upper chambers, and without overly difficult amendment procedures. They seem to be relatively stable and free.

Country Upper Chamber Amendment Procedure
UK the House of Lords has no real power no written constitution
New Zealand unicameral no written constitution
France disproportionate upper chamber,
but lower house has final say
when houses cannot agree
a majority of each house (one method)
and a majority of voters
Sweden unicameral a majority of Parliament,
then a majority of voters
Ireland upper house is complicated,
lower house can override
a majority of each house,
then a majority of voters
Italy upper chamber allocated by population a majority of each house, twice,
then a majority of voters required in some cases

Democratic majorities in these countries generally protect essential minority rights because a majority of the citizens in these countries are good and fair people. The same is true for a majority of American citizens.