The 2001 census count of Indigenous Australians produced an intercensal change in numbers that cannot be explained by demographic processes alone. Using census and vital registration data, this paper unravels the components of such change and provides new insight into Indigenous population dynamics. In particular, it establishes the first estimates of proximate determinants of fertility, and extends mortality analysis by examining the components of low Indigenous life expectancy. Results show that demographic factors account for only 69 per cent of population change. Of these components, national Indigenous fertility is found to be below replacement level, while lack of convergence between Indigenous and non-Indigenous mortality remains. As Indigenous socio-economic circumstances are spatially diverse, the paper also explores the geography of demographic processes using data for 36 ATSIC regions and capital city/balance of State classifications. This reveals continued high fertility across parts of north Australia and an indication that mortality levels are associated with degree of urban residence.