Of 691 healthy (untreated) villagers of Tecumseh, Michigan (average age 32.6 years), 99 had a clinical blood pressure exceeding 140/90 mmHg. Thirty-seven per cent of these borderline hypertensives had increased heart rate, cardiac index, forearm blood flow and plasma norepinephrine. These subjects had elevated self-determined home blood pressure (average of 14 measurements). The present hyperkinetic borderlines had elevated blood pressure at 5, 8, 21 and 23 years of age and their parents also had higher blood pressure. The prevalence of high blood pressure in Tecumseh, its long history, elevated blood pressure readings outside the physician's office and family background of hypertension, suggests that the hyperkinetic state is a significant clinical condition. Previous studies on hospital-based populations proved that the hyperkinetic state is caused by an excessive autonomic drive. The association of the hyperkinetic state with elevated norepinephrine in this study suggests that a sympathetic hyperactivity is present in a large proportion of unselected subjects with mild blood pressure elevation.