In animals, somatic cells are usually diploid and are unstable when haploid for unknown reasons. In this study, by comparing isogenic human cell lines with different ploidies, we found frequent centrosome loss specifically in the haploid state, which profoundly contributed to haploid instability through subsequent mitotic defects. We also found that the efficiency of centriole licensing and duplication changes proportionally to ploidy level, whereas that of DNA replication stays constant. This caused gradual loss or frequent overduplication of centrioles in haploid and tetraploid cells, respectively. Centriole licensing efficiency seemed to be modulated by astral microtubules, whose development scaled with ploidy level, and artificial enhancement of aster formation in haploid cells restored centriole licensing efficiency to diploid levels. The ploidy–centrosome link was observed in different mammalian cell types. We propose that incompatibility between the centrosome duplication and DNA replication cycles arising from different scaling properties of these bioprocesses upon ploidy changes underlies the instability of non-diploid somatic cells in mammals.