Lynn and Hampson (1975) and recently Lester (2000) suggested that national level of extraversion (E) and neuroticism (N) could be assessed by using certain national indicators like suicide and divorce rates. In this study, Lynn and Hampson's (1975) and Lester's (2000) models were assessed by using 1990s data. Although Lynn and Hampson's original N and E factors correlated with EPQ N (r = 0.48) and E (r = 0.60) scores as hypothesised, the factor structure did not recur in the 1990s data. Factor analysis supported Lester's (2000) model of N and E. However, the factor loadings for EPQ N and E were rather modest (0.49 for N and 0.36 for E). It was concluded that more research with larger datasets and new social indicators are needed before social indicators could replace the EPQ in comparisons of national characteristics of nations. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.